As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, May 7, 2012

On Sunscreen...and Parenthood

Today, after much protesting (and a few days of neglecting) I finally dug out the sunscreen.  It's the time of year when you are just teetering on the days of summer, but the carefree days of early spring when it was so easy to just send the kids outside without a second thought are still so fresh in your mind.  "Oh come on," you're probably thinking.  "What's the big deal about sunscreen?"  Nothing really.  Except that in my house, it takes a good 10-15 minutes to properly apply it to all my little kiddies.  So I've been dragging my feet on it, forcing the kids to play in long-sleeved t-shirts whenever possible, knowing that once the sunscreen bottle was out it would be part of my daily routine for the next three or four months.

When my three-year-old's cheeks started getting rosy, I began to guilty.  It was a beautiful day in the late teens, and the kids were running around playing with water guns, taking their shirts off, and enjoying the sunshine.  I couldn't put it off any longer.  And so, I began the dreaded task.  As I applied sunscreen to each little one, I was aware of their own unique chemical and physical makeup.  "Make sure you get it all over yourself," I said to my fair and sensitive skinned second boy, "you burn easy."  I was careful to get the backs of the boys necks and ears, while my little girl was much easier, since she had her hair down and it covered her ears and neck (a big difference from last summer - how she has grown!)  And with my third boy I was careful to get his ears - we always tease him about how much his ears stick out (it's so cute!) I was sure those puppies would be extra vulnerable in the sunlight!

It occured to me in such a simple way that though each one of these little guys came from me and is being raised by me, each is so different.  As obvious as it is in their physical features, sometimes it can be easy to forget that in every possible way they are their own little people, with their own thoughts, feelings, personalities, and ways of relating to the world.  In this small way today God revealed to me a profound truth that of course I know (most parents do, I think) but tend to forget in the rush of the day - that they are unique, and that I need to be aware of that.  I can't expect to treat them all the same and get the same results.  I have to learn to look at their individual traits and characteristics, and treat them in the way that brings out the best in them, by learning how to relate to them all - one on one.

How beautiful it is, life with kids.  Even in the most meaningless of tasks, there is always something to be learned.

So many personalities - one incredible life!

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