Risk Your Kid

"Her" goose was much bigger

Today is memorable for us. On September 24, 2001, we ate Chinese food for dinner (bad idea), cancelled our Small Group (good idea), and then we checked into the hospital. Joanna was in labor with our first child.

Hannah was born early the next morning (Tuesday, September 25) at 12:29 AM. We were thrilled to have a healthy first child (even though she had the cord wrapped around her neck for a bit), and celebrated with family and a close friend.

One advantage of having a baby born just after midnight is that we got an extra day in the hospital (our insurance covered 2 nights, and a night only counted when it crossed midnight). We were nervous first time parents, and we were happy to have doctors and nurses watching over our every step.

Fast Forward

When Hannah was a couple of  years old, I remember our family picnicking at Furman University. We enjoyed our nice spring day, walking around the lake and feeding bread to the ducks and geese.

At one point, Hannah wandered over to a goose. It was a huge goose; the two of theme were at eye level. And they got close to each other. Really close. Like striking distance close. Close enough for Hannah to reach out and touch the goose.

Which. She. Did.

I'm watching the entire time. As she neared the goose, I wondered if I should step in. "Nah. Let's just see what happens." I gasped when she pet that perplexed animal, but the animal just stared at her for a few seconds, and then waddled away.

Now, half of you are wagging your judgmental finger at me, thinking I should have protected her better. And you are probably right. I was thinking the same thing afterwards. What if she got hurt?

My personality is more on the side of exposing my kids to risk, and I need to focus on being more protective. But if you fall on the side of protection and shielding your kids, you probably need to risk your kids a little more than you do.

Risk Your Children

Yes, we live in a scary world. We are surrounded with so much that can hurt our children. We must wisely protect our children, even when they are adolescents, since the adolescent brain changes drastically.

On the other hand, we can easily parent in fear, so we must remember that God loves our children much more than we ever will. We are called to trust God, and to trust God with our kids.

Tim Elmore cautions that two of the biggest mistakes we make as parents are 1) Risking too little, and 2) Rescuing too quickly. This is especially true for you moms. Don't let your God-given gift of nurturing control you.

We must not parent in fear, but in grace, in the full knowledge that our heavenly Father loves our kids much more than we ever will. Our children cannot be a "light to the world" or a "city on a hill" (Matthew 5:14) if keep them forever under our wing.

Risking Hannah

What does this have to do with my daughter? A lot, to me.

Hannah is now in 7th grade, past the half-way point of her schooling (not counting college). In a few years, she'll be driving (theoretically). Thirty years after that, she can begin dating.

Just kidding. That would be too strict even for me. I'll give her my blessing to date someone in only twenty years.

Already we have had to "risk" her. We've risked her by letting her climb on the monkey bars. We've risked her when we've allowed her to watch a movie at her friends house (we debriefed afterwards). We've risked her when she has sleepovers. We've risked her when we let her roam around our big yard in Allendale. We risked her (and Elijah) when we sent them to a four-night 4H camp that was almost two hours away.

We know that we have to let go.

At 4H Camp

Celebrating Hannah

We are students of our children. We learn more about them every day, month, and year.

Hannah is our creative one, and our messy one (do those qualities always go hand-in-hand)? She has a great eye for photography, art, and crafts. She occasionally dabbles with her blog Hannah's Brain (appropriately subtitled "a jumbled mess of creativity").

She loves to read and loves doing science experiments. She struggles with math and spelling, but is getting better at both. Her teacher from a science camp this summer specifically told me that Hannah "is very intelligent and innovative and helped the team keep moving forward."

And though she loves to talk (20,000 words per day would be a conservative estimate), she tends to be a watcher and listener when in groups. Her student ministry leader at Grace Church noted that when she would be in town, she would bring an air of calmness and peace to the group.

Hannah means "grace." And we pray that she would always be a giver a grace.

Happy Birthday, my Sweetheart!

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  1. Yep, I think creativity and messiness often go hand-in-hand...that surely was the case with our Kate! Though ths messiness made us crazy as she was growing up, her creativity has always amazed us (still does!), and adds such a wonderful dimension to our lives! Embrace it all!

    1. It's good to know that we are not alone with our daughter's messiness. We are trying to "embrace" it, but it's hard with our controlling personalities. God is definitely working on our hearts, too!