November 16, 2010

Zach's in the lab...

Like most parents, we try to give our children what they need.  This isn’t limited to food, clothing, and shelter, of course.  We provide for their spiritual needs first and foremost, the most important thing we can do as parents.  But somewhere between basic physical needs and eternal ones is an area that has significance too.  We try to provide the resources necessary for exploring their interests, the toys that help them learn and grow and be silly, and the right environment to do all of those things.  In a house with four children, it’s not always easy to meet the unique needs of each child every moment of every day, but we do our best.

For our son Zach, it’s a lab.  Usually that term brings to mind several tables covered in liquid-filled beakers, but in Zach’s case it’s what we call his little area where he can work undisturbed on his projects, and where he can leave them half-done if need be, knowing no one will disturb them either.  Zach is a builder, a videographer, a chain-reaction maker, a blue-print drafter, and a bit of a loner.  He likes his quiet when he’s trying to think.  From the time he was a baby, as you can see, he’s been seeking a place all his own to play, think, and do things.  We don’t know if this is a product of being a twin, and wanting a little individuality and personal space, or if he is just hard-wired that way.  Whatever the reason, over the course of his eight years he has demonstrated a desire and a need for such a place, and we have done our best to arrange it.
Ours is not a unique approach to parenting; it’s what all parents do if they are putting their children first.  Sometimes the needs are obvious like this one; easy to take note of and supply with what satisfies it.  But it’s good to remind ourselves to look carefully and thoughtfully at each of our children and see what is missing or could be improved in their little world to help them grow and learn and develop the gifts the Lord gave them.  Sometimes it’s as simple as an off-limits-to-everyone-else play area.  Or perhaps they need access to art supplies, books, sports, more time with friends, or with us as their parents for some individual attention.  Whatever the need is, which I firmly do not believe is limited to what merely keeps them alive, it’s our responsibility as their parents to discern that and meet it.  A daunting task, to be sure, and one that we fail at time and time again.  But for our kids’ sake, it is definitely worth the effort.  They are a gift to us from the Lord; if He entrusts us with them, we should treat them the way we know He wants us to.  It’s the same way He treats us as our Father, meeting each and every need.  What better example is there?

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