Seeing Your Kids for Who They Are
You know how your kid can always find a way to surprise you?
Well, apparently, my 6-year-old daughter has a thick Italian accent.
Other times her playful dialect resembles an English princess, a sports announcer, a whiny baby, an exhausted mother, a bored supermarket cashier, and any number of random character voices. My personal favorite is when she facilitates a conversation between her 926 My Little Pony horses, uniquely inflecting her voice for each animal while somehow keeping track of it all.
The possibilities are as vast as her imagination.
On a recent daddy/daughter date at an Italian restaurant, though, the aforementioned bouncy accent reared its head. I rolled along with it and we had a blast.
Daddy Daughter Date Night
After sharing this online, I received some cute comments.
"I love this. I miss my dad every day! I'm so happy you shared this special moment with us. She is adorable."
"How adorable is she?"
"I love this!!!! So cute!!!!!!! You crack me up going along with your daughter!"
Of course, I saw another comment from an extended family member who will remain nameless.
"How adorable and very good Italian accent for both of you. She gets the acting part from her ancestors."
I know there's nothing malicious about this, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little. You're familiar with these comments, right? The kind from well-meaning family members who look at your kid and search for themselves in the kid more than seeing the kid for who they are.
That's something you and I as parents probably struggle with from time to time, too.
On one hand, our kids are a "little us." We really like it when they get into our favorite interest, sports team, movies, books, and foods. On the other hand, our kids are absolutely unique. We sometimes feel all thumbs when they become passionate and wise about something that we're not even remotely into.
So there's this dance we do while trying to guide them into who God made them to be, while at the same time referencing our own experiences and interests as we do it.
"Train up a child in the way he is bent"
Maybe we can get some help from a popular Bible verse. Proverbs 22:6 is traditionally translated, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Another way to understand this verse is "Train up a child in the way he is bent..." - meaning, understand the personality and interests of your kids and then lead them in those things. This isn't a blanket endorsement of "Do whatever makes you happy," but is full of real challenge and training as we love and lead our kids into a fully-alive relationship with Jesus.
Maybe my daughter is set to be an actress all because some of her ancestors dabbled in the entertainment industry. Or maybe she's just making voices at dinner because it's fun.
I'm not in a rush to sum that up for her.
Instead, I'm going to just interact with her on it "today" and we'll see what "tomorrow" becomes. The possibilities are as vast as our imagination.