Sometimes I treat my son like an inconvenience.
Oh I love him, I know I do, but I don't always treat him like I love him as much as I know I do! Sometimes whats more important to me is having time to myself. Whether that is time to cook, or time to sleep, or time to blog. Lord, forgive me.
This isn't to say I think it is wrong to train your children to play by themselves. I don't think it is wrong to decide it is best to cook dinner without a whining toddler tugging at you. But what I know needs to change in myself is my own inner thoughts when dealing with such situations. I need to know, and to convey to him, the reasons why I'd like him to play alone - not just brush him off with a terse "No - you need to go play in the living room!".
Why am I telling you this? It's not because I'm enjoying it, that's for sure. But maybe you've noticed the same sort of tone in your own voice. Maybe you too sometimes fall asleep at night thinking "Did I love my children as well as I could have today?" And I want to encourage you that it is worth crying out to the Lord to change your heart!
I don't want to go through my days getting the things I "need" done and just having my little guy along for the ride. I want our time together to be valuable for him too! I wan't to use the opportunities I have him by my side to teach him truths about life and God and people. To help him gain knowledge he can use in his future tasks. And to instill in him the strongest sense that I love him THIS MUCH - but that even that is only a small fraction of the love God has for His children.
I don't want to take my time with him for granted. I know I am so blessed to get to spend all day, every day with him - and I can gladly say I don't think I have ever wished for any other situation. But I want him to know that. I want him to come to understand it through the way I interact with him, and how I include him in our day.
The love I feel for him is overwhelming, and yet in the heat of things it is often overshadowed by an immediate desire towards some less eternal work than raising an eternal soul. But yesterday I read: "While we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)
May God help us all as we raise our children, to do so with a love that is patient and kind, not self-seeking or easily angered. May our love for them be more like a picture of His love for us.