July 23, 2009
We have recently joined a new church that we love very much. This church is very involved in the community and that is something my family and I have always been interested in. Our old church was also involved, but something about the way this new church goes about it, seems to make it easier for us to see ourselves being involved.
My wife and I are different about the way we make major decisions. If the "spirit" moves me, I have a tendency to want to jump right in. My wife is more likely to analyze the situation and all its options before coming to a decision. It has made for a good match most of the time. Sometimes, I have to give her a bit of a nudge to get off the fence, and sometimes she serves her role well as "wo-man" and slows me down to wait for more information.
Recently, we have seen a lot of information about being foster parents. There have been relevant articles in the local paper, there has been talk of it at church, and there have been acquaintances getting involved in it in their lives. As we drove through our neighborhood on the way to the mall, we saw several lawn signs dedicated to recruiting foster parents and a phone number. I told my wife that if God was sending us a sign, He was being a bit obvious. Well, we are still in the analyzing mode of our decision, but yesterday brought more information.
My wife took our son and his friend to the art museum. Our family loves to go there as it is very eclectic and provides us with time to reflect on skills none of us possesses. We love to view art, but can never be commissioned to create it. The Cincinnati Art Museum is well know in the art community for its quality and rightly so. Besides, it fits into our budget as it is free to get in.
So going there as a family and taking a friend turned out to be different experiences. My son's friend has a tendency to talk a lot in a loud manner which really goes over great at a museum. He also did not see it as a learning experience or one to appreciate as he would have rather been at the pool or in front of the PS3. When you are with someone in this mode, child or adult, the experience loses some appeal. They just want to rush through the experience and do not stop to appreciate the event or show respect for others trying to do so. It even made my son uncomfortable as he tried to slow his friend down and stay out of trouble with his mom.
It made us appreciate the differences between my son and other kids. He has not been a problem to raise (which of course my wife and I think is due to our parenting skills), and has made life very easy for us. When we only had one child due to some medical issues, we used to tell people that God only gives you what you can handle. Well, if that were true, He must not have thought we could handle anything tricky as our son is not much of a challenge.
I was not an easy child to be a parent to as I was the middle child who always wanted a bit more attention. I found the trouble and caused my mother more than her share of grey hairs. At age 13, I wised up and started trying to make life less complicated for her, and by the time she died, I think she felt good about the man I turned out to be. However, before the age of 13, I remember something she used to say to me during these challenging times. "I hope you have 10 kids just like you." Having just had one child, I was sure he was going to be 100 times harder than I was. As it turns out, he is very much like me in some regards, but has a great mix of his mom and grandparents that has made him so fantastic to live with. His DNA pool is swimming with many great features. When people used to ask who he looked more like, my wife or me, we would just have to admit that he was a mutt. He good a mix of everyone.
He has my eyebrows, mom's height, Grandpa C's tongue, Grandpa J's hair, Grandma MB's heart, Grandma L's curiosity and love for a good restaurant, and somehow he got a sarcastic sense of humor. Huh?? Big feet too, that is also a mystery??
Anyway, when we think about bringing another child into our home, we have to decide if we can handle this kind of person and the baggage they come with. When my son gets sarcastic or can't stay away from the chocolate, we just have to look in the mirror to know where he got this from. When a child we didn't raise has anger issues or is suspicious of authority, it becomes guess work to know where this came from or what to do about it. Our search for answers continues, and hopefully we can make the right choice or find the right community activity that suits our desire to be involved and fits our skills-whatever they may be.
Until that moment arrives...