I often look at this picture and laugh; it’s one I feel really depicts our boys’ personalities.
Jonathan, the oldest, is a young version of his “old”/wise daddy. He’s a deep thinker and likes to hold conversations full of his questions and old-but-young logic. My husband and I can think of many times when something Jonathan has said has made us think, “how old is he again?” or look at each other like, “that IS true.” He describes things as being “beautiful,” “magnificent” or “inappropriate.” At home, if my shirt shows a little of my back, he comes to me and pulls it down, saying “mommy, you have to keep that down because you’re not supposed to show your tummy” (I PRAY he maintains this taste for modesty in women as he grows older!) Jonathan is concerned if I’m hurting and will often hold my hand and whisper, “it’s okay mommy” then pray. He’s my cuddle baby- I can count on him to want to snuggle next to mommy and read or watch Curious George. Jonathan is also VERY athletic; there’s no sport he’s not interested in, whether playing or watching it. He also loves music and can identify most instruments he hears in a song. Yep- this is my strong, empathetic, young and wise one with a taste for hard play and musical sounds.
Justice, the youngest, is only two, so his personality is still developing BUT OH! what a personality. If looking at my family, Jonathan would be me and Justice would be one of my sisters who, at 2, decided to strip naked and streak through our backyard, laughing as 3 of us chased her. All of this before her grand finale of dancing her hind parts over the sprinkler toy, laughing the entire time. (This sister is probably gonna scream when she reads this because most of us know which one it is lol). Justice and her share what I call a carefree spirit. Challenges are sometimes Justice’s best friends and, with a sparkle in his eye, his smile is so contagious to the point you laugh. At the same time, his awareness of people is very keen; he was never the baby that would smile or coo with you. Justice would always look directly into people’s eyes as if to see what you’re trying to hide. I call it a “sin monitor” lol. Even now with people he knows, his behavior changes when they’re “off.” Justice, as his name reflects, also likes ORDER and consistency. If doors are opened, he closes them. Lids off, he puts them back on. Grocery carts not in line? Pushes them straight… or tries. Off schedule? Whiiiiny. You may say, that’s most kids- they like routine. Sure but Justice sees routines as a way of maintaining order, so it can be little more intense than other kids at times. Justice is compassionate, always giving kisses AND hugs at bedtime and departures. And MUSIC? He’s a worshipper aaaaaaaalllllll the way, so he too is musically inclined if not more than his brother.
So why do I share all of this?
God’s gifted many of us with more than one child. We have or are overcoming the doubt of our ability to love one as much as we love the other. We know their distinct personality traits, likes and dislikes. What we must always remember is HOW we love each similarly but different based on their personalities. Your hugs and kisses may mean more to one than the other, who desires just your presence and time. Not only is this lesson important in how we love our children, but it’s equally important in how we train, discipline and disciple them. One may cringe and cry at the mere sound of your stern voice while the other requires consistent meetings with Mr. No No. One may grow rapidly in applying the Word through verse memorization while the other grows more in hands-on training.
Raising one child will be different yet similar when raising the other. And that’s just how God handles us- His children. Some of us cringe at the mere THOUGHT of not being in His will; some of us run hard in our own wills until He chastises us in order to turn us back to Him. In both situations, God’s love remains the same towards both types of individuals. God’s love for us should be what’s reflected in our love for our children- universal yet individual. So what won’t and should not change is what matters the most regardless of our children’s personalities…
… OUR love as parents for Jesus and desire to please Abba God in training our children. When this is our own foundation as parents, everything else- love, discipline, training- will flow effectively out of us towards them, differently and similarly.
Although every arrow an archer holds in his/her quiver is similar, there are slight details that make them all different. Regardless, the archer is the same person who releases each arrow. With each arrow in place on the bow, the archer has the same target in mind for those slightly varied arrows- bull’s eye.
For us as believing parents, the same remains true… and that target should always be the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus.