by Michele Latham
Watching videos of my kids as young toddlers transports me back in time instantly. My heart stores memories which are awakened by the sound of tiny voices saying “mommy”. There was so much work, and worry and love packed into those years! As new parents, my husband and I agreed upon a parenting style and philosophy. Of course, various situations arose which caused us to re-think our plan and act upon instinct. But we were doing our best. Our main objective was to plant the best seeds in the children and pray that they took firm root. Choosing which seeds to plant was easy. We just looked to the teaching of the Orthodox Church. Prayer, love for God and our neighbors, respect for authority, truth and beauty. Well, as hard as we tried to tend the planting of those seeds, sometimes everyday hustle and bustle got in the way. Looking back, I worry that we didn’t do enough. We were so busy keeping everybody fed and cleaned and home schooled that I wonder if we took enough time to prepare them for leading grown-up Christian lives.
I am in the midst of all this worrying when it hits me…
I am so glad I was able to read the lives of the Saints to the children, and take them to church. I loved praying with them in our icon corner and celebrating the feast days with special food and activities. But really, who is the gardener here? I’m trying to take way too much credit (and blame) for what happens in the souls of these children. God is the ultimate gardener, I am just the assistant. I will continue to watch over and pray for my children. Perhaps I’ll even get the chance to knock out a weed that wants to intrude on the work of the Holy Spirit, but how arrogant I am to think my guidance will “make or break” them as Christians?
In Wounded by Love, Elder Porphyrios instructs, Say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them.’