The Favored Child

22 07 2013

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but for this story it bears repeating; 35 years ago if someone Imagehad told my wife and I that you could raise kids with the same parents, in the same house with the same rules and have them all turn out completely different from each other, we might have argued that your position on the subject of child rearing was inadequate.  Boy, were we ever green!!

The truth was we had little if any knowledge of multiple child-rearing since Cathy and I were both raised in single children homes.  Now sure, you can learn some from others on what it’s like to have several children to care for, but if you haven’t ever experienced it, it can definitely rock your world.  But through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the smelly diaper stage, the terrible twos, the million questions on subjects you know nothing about, the tattling on each other 6,000 times a day, the disrespectful teenage years, and then finally the moment everyone leaves the nest; well, I hope I can say we made it with few dents and bruises.  However, over the course of that time period there are certain things you like about the child and then there are those other issues that just get under your skin as a parent.  The things they do to get on your very last nerve and at times make you wonder how long it would take before anyone missed one of them, or noticed something that looked like a grave in the backyard!  (Just kidding!)  Seriously though, there were times I felt one child or another was brought into the world just to drive me completely crazy by the trouble they could get into or the disobedience they could display.  I was discussing this with a coworker one day back when all three of my kids were teenagers, relating to him how frustrated I felt and wasn’t sure what I should do next.  “Well John,” my friend started, “I had the same problem and I handled it by putting all my time and effort into my favorite kid and just left the others to do whatever they wanted.”  He knew he had my attention with that comment; “What the heck are you saying, I should just let the problems go and concentrate on whoever doesn’t cause me grief?!!”  “Yeah, I guess I am,” he said being totally honest. “If they haven’t straightened and flown right by the time they’re teenagers they never will. Why torture yourself, put your time with the one who appreciates it.  Maybe the other will see that and get their act together; if not they have to answer for their mistakes, not you.” My “friend’s” words stuck with me the rest of that day and into the next; “Put your time and effort into the favored child.”  His words rang for a long time in my ears and until finally one day I realized, he was right!  Life is too short, why should I be miserable.  I would do just exactly what he recommended to get past any crisis and bring me happiness.  I know what you’re wondering, you have three kids, so which one is it?  Okay, I’ll tell you, but what I’m going to do is group all three together first and give you an overview of how I came to my decision.

Three kids, one’s first word was Dada, one was Mama, and one was NO!  Three kids, when one got in trouble they would fess up immediately.  The second would just stare at you not wanting to answer and the third, when they knew the gig was up, they took the most obvious course to them, Run!  (If I could keep them corralled in the house I had a chance to catch’ em, but once out the front the door the chase was on; Whoa!!)

Three kids, being a musician there’s always been instruments at the house, many over the years; and someday I hope one of them will tell me what happened to some of them!!!

Three kids, two I’ve had to retrieve from a police station, the 3rd was probably a little bit smarter not to get caught in some dumb shenanigan!  Three kids, all three when they became teenagers and learned to drive each cracked up cars, especially Cathy’s.  (One blew four separate tires in four separate incidents, I’m still trying to figure that one out!) Three kids, over those early years I heard disrespect, angry and hatful words and from time to time, lies that all drove me over the edge.  So are you getting a picture of which one is the favored child?  No?  Okay, let’s take it another direction maybe that will help.

Three kids, each I’ve either been called by them or someone else telling me of a traumatic situation they were involved in, that once I got off the phone found myself crying uncontrollably, thanking God they were alive.  Three kids, some parents have to put up with their children bringing home stray animals that needed my home.  Mine did that also but more, they brought home people, that needed a place to stay, or a bed, maybe advice, or just really in need of a hug and a prayer to let them know someone cared.  Three kids, never saw a group fight amongst themselves like these guys, but then come to talk to mom and dad secretly when they worried about each other.  Three kids, all so incredibly gifted in different ways while all being the same in their passion for helping hurting people, all three wonderful with children, and all three compassionate and caring to ones with special needs.  And, oh yeah, three kids who know the love of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Maybe not always the image of what people think of as Christians, but still devoted to their Lord while planting seeds in others about the love of Jesus.  Three kids who have gone on not to always do what mom and dad would prefer for their lives, but also never, never given us any reason to question their love for us. There’s that question again; “So which of the Miller Mob is your favorite?!!”  I’m getting there.

I said that I came to realize one day my “friend” was right, there is a favored child.  What I didn’t say was God spoke to my heart on exactly what He gave me, what He entrusted me with.  When a child or children are brought into the world, there is no promise what their future will be.  Yes, we can guide and instruct, we can lead and direct and we can pour everything we have into them, but still no guarantee they will turn out the way we want them to.  I came to realize that day that no matter what, children are a gift of God.

Also part of being a gift is each one is different; God made all of us that way to be special. The Bible teaches that, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”  Psalm 127:3-5  

The realization came to me that my children are not perfect (The greatest proof of that is my DNA in their veins!) perfect or nor these are the ones God chose to make the “Miller Mob” on Vandeveer St., Warsaw, IN.  He equipped each with some special gift.  From that day on I no longed dwelled the faults they had, even though some stuck out more than others.  I now clearly saw all the wonderful things that made them who they are, who God meant them to be and when I counted all that they were and all they were becoming, I realized I had something incredibly special; “Dear Lord how you have blessed me so richly with these awesome children.” So are they perfect?  Nope, still have to get on them occasionally, that’s all part of package of being a parent.  But who they are and knowing each loves me as much as I love them has made Traveling the Rock Road a better place.  

One writer said, “As parents, you may confidently rear your children according to God’s Word.  While bringing up your children, you are to remember that your children are not your “possessions” but instead are the Lord’s gift to you.  You are to exercise faithful stewardship in their lives.”  My prayer is one day they can look back and maybe see I did make an attempt to do just that!

I have three kids; one is a homemaker and creator of beautiful crafts, one a teacher and carpenter, one a musician and entrepreneur.  (All three are musicians, only one gets paid for it.)  All three have taken their turn turning my hair gray and fraying my nerves and all three have showed me and their mother love, in word and in action. 

So, which one is the Favored Child?

YOU’RE DARN RIGHT THEY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!

As for my friend and his advice, well, looking back, all I can say is, he was an idiot!
Hope he got passed that attitude; otherwise he may have missed the joy of a lifetime!


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