Walking is a learned skill.
We don’t come into the world knowing how to do it. We barely know how to kick and flail.
Crying is innate. Any small dissatisfaction–at most any age–can give us cause to use our voices.
Walking is something every parent longs for their first child to accomplish quickly. It’s a rite of passage, a sign of maturity, the indication that the little bugger is becoming his or her own person. Independence and self-sufficiency lurk around the corner.
By the sixth child, Mom and Dad aren’t anxious for him to move on his own two legs. Containment is the desire. With five other kids to monitor, having one that is not yet able to walk out the door is somewhat calming.
That typically doesn’t last long.
I’ve walked that road. Debbie, our sixth, was picked up, toted from place to place, and learned to raise her arms if she wanted to be held or moved.
Until she determined she wanted to walk.
History is repeating itself with Cal, the youngest child of my oldest daughter. This little guy crawls faster than most kids; turn your back and he’s gone. He has that winsome face with a big grin that draws people in. When he raises his arms, you can’t help but pick him up.
He has had no desire to walk.
Something finally clicked. Maybe it was all the knees on down he viewed from his place on the floor. Maybe he was tired of being taken places he didn’t want to go.
Or just maybe he decided it was time.
He’s a little shaky right now. Their big labrador retriever knocks him down with a few swishes of his very strong tail–or just mows him down.
He finds something to pull up on and goes again.
Cousin Mack in Pennsylvania has been walking for a few months; they have the same birthday. Cousins Mason and Ward, two and three months younger respectively, have been at this for a while. Different circumstances–none of them had older siblings that could easily haul them around.
Whatever the reasons, each boy walked when they were ready.
Not always how life is lived.
I’ve been that parent. Putting my kids into soccer, gymnastics, piano, drums, and dance at an early age to discover if they have a talent they may want to pursue. Expecting genius in some activity. I remember sitting with moms’ who shared how their child had been asked to be in the gifted program at school.
I reminded myself that my kids had great character.
I wonder now how much my expectations weighed on them and took away the joy of what they did?
Accepting our children where they are, with their talents and skill sets, their messes and mistakes, is part of loving them well. It’s what God does for me in a relationship. He doesn’t ask me to be something or do something to be acceptable to Him.
He asks me to receive His love and forgiveness. In exchange, He takes my mess and sees me as clean as His Son.
No performing required.
It’s your time, Cal.
It just takes that first step.