I've had this topic come up in conversation a lot over the last 6 months. And it's been good for me to mull it over.
I have 2 children. One was blessed with a mostly great disposition. Easy going and loves to have fun. He can be a pill, but mostly, he doesn't hold grudges and he's just fun to be with. He is most decidedly a follower, which freaks me out a bit. But as long as his needs are being met, he's pretty easy.
My other precious gift from God, however, is not so easy going. She holds grudges and sees the glass half empty, pretty much all the time. She is always finding the negative in life. And bossy, phew-ee! And I think the hardest part for Drew and I, is that no matter how much we 'pour' into her, it's never enough.
And, she was born difficult. The poor kids was born screaming and didn't stop for 3 years! *shudders* Now, granted, her brother took just about as long to stop screaming. But at least in between, he'd snuggle. Even today, he's my snuggle bug. But Myia can't snuggle, she just can't do it. Touch bothers her. Oh heck, everything bothers her!
To be fair, they both tend to flip flop roles in social situations. She loves to be distracted by others (when she is doing well and getting her way) and Samuel freaks out.
Drew and I have struggled with Myia from birth. I rotate between being annoyed with her for being a certain way, and annoyed with God for giving me such a difficult child to raise.
But you know, recently, as God has softened my heart and helped me to stop being so ego-centric (a child like Myia is NOT good for the ego, in case you're wondering), I have started to see my own part in making Myia who she is.
In talking with someone about the nature versus nature debate. We discussed how 2 people who were born into difficult circumstances, both turned out so differently. One was easy going about it and moved on, but the other couldn't let his past go and wound up bitter and angry. And it dawned on me that while nature (God) gives us one thing, it doesn't mean it has to stay that way. We CAN nurture the bad out and replace it with good. As a matter of fact, that is basically the role of a parent-with the Holy Spirit's help of course.
But, it must be a conscious, daily, prayer-bathed training and raising.
If Samuel was left to himself, he'd be fine. He could be abused and abandoned, and still probably turn out pretty easy going. Not that we do either to him, except in a ticklish sort of way, which he eats up. :) But Myia, if left in that same situation (which thankfully God saw fit NOT to put her in), would most likely end up being a bitter, nasty mess. And somehow it looks worse in a woman then a man to me.
Myia isn't a 'lost cause' as I used to find myself thinking so often. God has given her to Drew and I because he knows that we are the perfect parents (?) to nurture the sin qualities out of her, and nurture her already existing good qualities to the forefront.
But boy is that a lot of work! I must remind myself that it's not about me, but about God being glorified and honored. And I also am finding that it goes against my own nature, as I have to be more 'strict' with her. And more on my toes at all times. If I give her an inch, she'll run a mile before I've blinked. I'm just not like that, so I find it harder to deal with I think. But, none of those are reasons that I can bring before God someday and use as excuses for not doing the job he has called me to do.
And, I know that the very qualities about her that make her difficult to raise and nurture are the ones that God often uses most in places of leadership and change. She'll be a mover and a shaker someday. If we can nurture her right!
And for that, I know that ultimately, God is in charge, so the pressure to be perfect is taken off my shoulders, and the pressure to please God is the only one that remains. Phew, I can handle that!
For the little man, he needs nurturing also, of course. But the process is generally easier. And I wonder if his ply-ableness means we can easily nurture his nature out of him. That's a scary thought! Being a follower I can also see that he could bring us more heartache in the future, and we have to esp teach him to watch who he hangs out with .
It's a sobering reminder that this job of parenting is not something to be taken lightly, but with much prayer and humbleness!
And no matter what the 'nature' a child is born with. God expects us to 'nurture' them into the adults that God can use for his glory.