Stop Growing!

// April 21st, 2012 // Uncategorized

When I was a girl, my aunts and uncles used to tell me, “You’re growing like a weed!” Annoyed by the comparison to a garden menace, I’d shrug and run outside to play with my cousins. As the next generation of kids were racing through those formative years {as a Wonder Bread commercial called them}, I used that oldie a few times, myself.

But these days I’m hearing something from parents that I find a bit disconcerting.“Will you please stop growing!?”, usually said with a laugh. I’m sure what they really mean is the same thing all of us who have looked on with amazement at the rapidity with which children grow”Oh my! You’re getting so big so fast, I can’t keep up!” {So, why don’t we just say that?}

In a literal sense, the consequence of compliance with this innocent demand would be dire, indeed. The opposite of growth is stagnation at best, let’s not think about the worst.

I wonder….If a child could obey this command, where would that leave us? A perpetual three year old­­­—­or twelve, pick an age­­­­—­never knowing the wonders of the next phase in life? And think of all the joy we would miss out on—­bec­ause ­each stage of development brings its own joys as we help them navigate waters we have already sailed: the sweet toddler, learning about the larger world outside her core family; the preschooler’s emerging sense of humor; in early elementary school, learning to be a partner in the family as he participates in the care and upkeep of the home (okay, okay….. that’s just how I spin chores); junior high brings growing independence and new

responsibilities. And high school­­—w­here they can polish their understanding of the world, helping them to form the society we’ll grow old in? We want them to get there, right? They can’t if they “stop growing!” at one of their cutesy stages.

As a parent, when we’ve been blessed to shepherd our sons and daughters into the adult world, we realize new joys, as this person becomes much more than our child. The amalgamated relationship of son/friend or daughter/friend is like entering the “Bonus Round”. They see us from a unique perspective. [Sometimes they remember things we’d rather forget, like how we yelled at them for staying out after the street lights came on, or became frustrated while teaching them how to vacuum.] This is someone who has run the full range of relationship with us. From utter dependence, to student, to antagonistic, to accepting, and finally the greatest blessing that comes from that simple statement,“We’re going to have a baby!”, the child becomes an equal {though never a usurper}, worthy to be called “friend”.

I was blessed with five kids. Each grew up. Each became my friend. Thank God, they didn’t stop growing!

Still looking forward…

Deb

PS…now I teach to vacuum using the analogy of “painting” the floor…..live and {continue to} learn.J

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