Kids grow up so fast. Adults joke and pinch and say that it’s “too fast” while the kids can’t wait to get older, bigger and taller. There’s something about reaching up to that next notch in the paint on the doorway and marking it with the pencil. There’s a moment of “finally there”, wherever “there” happens to be whenever “finally” means “finally”.
The last entry got me thinking about my kids growing up. Inside, they are pushed out and up by their natural growth. It also seems like something outside is pulling them. Pulling them to the next height marker, into the next pants size and the next reading level. Like there’s this kid-magnet of immense proportions, pulling my kids through childhood. It’s pulling them too fast, though. It’s as if they are being pulled out of their youth and into something else, entirely.
Eventually, the magnet will pull them out of their clothes and into new fashions, thoroughly unapproved of by mother and father. The magnet will pull them out of the musical tastes we’ve tried to instill in them and into pop-R&B-alternative mashup playlists and their marching band remixes, also likely to be unapproved. The magnet will pull them from youth and innocence toward something older, mysterious and attractive.
These are processes we can do very little about. They will take place against every hope otherwise. They will take place no matter how much we spend on the latest round of outfits. They will take place whether we do devotions with them every night and make them pray before every meal or not. We can train them up in the way they should go and those magnets are still there, still pulling.
As much as we’d like them to level out a bit, it’s just not in them. They do not “do” holding patterns. They are meant to move, meant to grow. Even if Emma likes being just the way she is, she’s not going to be for very long.
I think the same ought to be true for us, as well. We may have finally stopped getting taller, but we’re never meant to stop growing. If we have, it’s because we’ve settled for something.
We’ve marked that last notch and we just want to hang out there for a minute. There’s a stability that is very appealing. There’s that holding pattern that feels a lot like rest. Maybe we’ve accomplished a lot and we’ve earned the right. Maybe we’ve met a personal goal and it’s time to enjoy it. These aren’t bad things. If anything, they are necessary. They are also temporary.
Rest your wings and then prepare for takeoff again. Enjoy your moment and then look forward to the next one. Park, fill up the tank and then head back out on the road. You’ve got more miles ahead of you.
There’s another magnet, too. There’s a magnet that pulls us toward personal growth, to self-improvement, toward being a better and deeper disciple. Every destination is another step in a journey to deeper, bigger, better, more.
It’s hard to focus on this magnet. It’s the strongest, but somehow it’s the easiest to resist. It’s always been there but it’s the easiest to ignore.
Don’t ignore it. Don’t resist. Find this magnet and point yourself directly at it.
Focus. Listen. Move. Grow.