I once heard the influence you have on your child is pretty much complete by age five. Who would say such a cruel thing? I remember the torture of forcing my little one to sleep through the night, uninterrupted, cold turkey. I think back on all the times I lost my patience with my toddler. These weren’t polite outbursts of “no.” These were foot-stomping, screaming tirades that I felt compelled to apologize for later. So these last five years, that is what I will hang my parenting hat on forevermore?
If so, I graduated from motherhood today. My little one went to Kindergarten. Five years old and out the door. For a week, we practiced going to bed earlier, setting an alarm and marking off our school morning to-dos on our homemade checklist. We had everything set out the night before. Textbook parenting stuff, because my parenting influence was coming to an end, right?! At 6:25 this morning I went in to wake her for probably the most important day of her young life so far.
She awoke, sleepy-eyed and her first words to me, “Mom, can we pray?” The closest I’ve come to tears all day. If, in fact, my parenting influence is all wrapped up by age five, I have done well. Our heavenly Father most graciously has covered over my times of blatant imperfection and set up camp in her little heart. She has learned what I still have to remind myself, when I get nervous or scared or worried, pray.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23