Join me in welcoming one of our newest contributors, Lynn Cowell, to The Better Mom as she shares how our child’s dreams may be indicators of their callings and life work. – XO, Ruth
A keeper: one who guards or watches.
“Can we paint pictures of our stories on the walls of the attic?”
What kind of child asks a parent such a bold question?
My best friend and I.
Our oversized sketch pads, overflowing with drawings, were just waiting for the next-notch-up canvas. To our amazement, my friend’s mother said yes. Over the next few days, colors began to transform the raw, wooden walls into a child’s delight.
Those days of fourth grade in my girlfriend’s attic were the sparks of a passion alive and well today as I write books for young girls that exact same age.
My friend’s mom was a keeper of my dream; one who guarded and watched over it. She didn’t know it, but her steps fanned my desire; helping me take one step closer to seeing it come true.
There was a dreamer in Genesis, who also exuded excitement mixed with immaturity. He, too, shared his dream with a parent, but before he did, he chose to be vulnerable with his big brothers.
Four times in the first book of the Bible, Genesis tells how these older brothers of Joseph’s were jealous of him; in fact, they hated Joseph. Jealousy and hatred, emotions overtly power-filled and strong are not the kind easily covered up or hidden. Father Jacob had to have been aware of the undercurrents of this tremendous tension in his family, especially aware that one of the chief reasons was Joseph’s dreams.
Even with this knowledge, Jacob didn’t guard his son’s dream. Instead, by sending him alone as a spy of sorts out to the very brothers who hated him, Jacob inadvertently exposed Joseph’s dream. In fact, the brothers hated Joseph and his dreams so much they would do what they could to destroy it. (Genesis 37:12-14)
Our children are like young Joseph; immature and not yet equipped to fully take on the world. While this truth isn’t our ticket to maneuver every movement they make, it is a call to pay attention. Are there environments where your child’s dream would flourish? Is their dream exposed and could come under attack like Joseph’s did?
Do other children pick on your son’s love of the piano?
Help to find a place where his musical passion is fanned; perhaps there is a school of music in your area.
Does one of your friends tease your daughter who digs in the dirt?
Show her the garden your girl is working, asking your friend to hold back on her joking.
Does your father wonder and mention why your son would rather read a book than throw a football?
Advocate for the unique way God has gifted your son.
I certainly made many mistakes and missed some opportunities to be the guardian of my children’s dreams. While we have not suffered to the degree that Jacob and Joseph did, there has certainly been pain and heartache. Gratefully as parents, we are not the writer of our children’s stories. God is. While we are vital characters in their daily plots, ultimately our mighty God is the author.
Today, even as my children are young adults, I have moved into the place of being their greatest cheerleader.
Let’s learn from this powerful story in Genesis to pay attention to our child’s dreams for they may be indicators of their callings and life work. Be mindful of who is speaking into your child’s life. Are they a keeper or destroyer of their dreams and how might God want us to intervene?