My wife and I are currently waging a tiring, fierce, and ongoing battle of epic proportions—with our two-year-old. He notches his share of victories as we charge the trenches of teaching him the word “no,” how to feed himself without throwing or sling-shotting his food, and how to submit to the terrible monster known as “Bedtime,” and so on. (It is tough being a toddler.) My wife and I are hopeful that we will win the war.
As parents of small children, past and present, know well, the challenges and frustrations of raising little ones can often feel like battle. At the same time, with these “battles” come many of the most joyful, fun, funny, and heart-warming moments in life.
How many parents and grandparents could write a book filled with hilarious or touching stories of raising little children? Perhaps you’re easily able to recall a moment, or two, or many, that bring a smile to your face.
Here’s a personal example that causes my wife and me to smile and laugh. When attending church, my wife normally dresses up our “Little Buddy” with a clip-on necktie to go with his little dress shirt and pants. He loves to wear ties now, and often greatly desires (and sometimes insists) on wearing two, three, or even five ties at a time. Sometimes, he wants me or my wife to wear one of his clip-on ties to match him. The patterns, fabrics, mismatched colors, or fact that he’s wearing pajamas are of little importance. Such cute idiosyncrasies that come out of babies and toddlers bring joy and amusement into the world.
How many fathers have fondly enjoyed coming home from work and being met at the door by their toddler, sprinting (as best they can manage a sprint, anyhow) and shouting “Da-da! Da-da!” as they throw their tiny arms around Dad’s legs? How many mothers have enjoyed cuddling with their baby or toddler or watching them slowly wake up from napping on Mom’s lap? How many grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends have cherished games of “peek-a-boo” or hide-and-seek with babies or toddlers? For parents, grandparents, and others, such moments are often some of the happiest moments in life.
In a number of scriptures, God explains that children are one of His most marvelous and precious gifts. Psalm 127:3–5 states, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men,” and describes the sheer delight of grandparents when playing with, teaching, or sharing quality time with their grandchildren.
The Gospels contain several instances of Jesus affectionately referring to, holding, and blessing small children, such as, “‘Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’ And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:15–16; cf. Matthew 19:13–15; Luke 9:46–48). God the Father and Jesus Christ surely enjoy small children just like physical parents and grandparents do.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 explains that there is “a time to laugh,” and raising or just being around babies and toddlers brings plenty of times when genuine laughter is the order of the day.
I’m amazed at how many parents of children of teens and adults have told my wife and me: “Enjoy the times when your children are little because time goes by so fast, and they won’t always be little” or “I miss the time when my children were little.” Surely, there are many wonderful aspects for parents to enjoy as their children grow and mature, but there are also many extra special joys that only last for a relatively short time when they are small.
For parents of small children, it isn’t always easy to devote a full hour to a toddler’s desire to play peek-a-boo or read the same book another ten times at the end of the day. But remembering the joy they add to life and the relatively short duration of their childhood can provide a helpful reminder to soak up the precious moments of closeness, joy, fun, innocence, and laughter with your baby or toddler, because the time will come when they don’t need a bedtime story, would rather be with friends, will say words correctly—and only wear one necktie, at the appropriate times, with matching clothes.
Doing so can help us never to take our experiences for granted, and remind us also to thank God, our great Father and Creator, for the abundance of joy that small children add to our lives.
If you’d like to read more about parenting, please order our free booklet Successful Parenting: God’s Way.