Monday, October 26, 2015

One Strand at a Time

Emma has reached an age where she views hairbrushes as an invitation. She doesn't have much hair, and she doesn't usually keep hair clips in for very long, but she loves to brush her own hair or anyone else's.
With two older sisters it's not hard to find a stray hairbrush left out somewhere. Recently, she picked one up and started brushing my hair. After brushing part of it smooth for a few minutes, she paused, looked at my hair, tried to separate it into two or three sections, then looked at it some more. It seemed as if she were trying to figure out how to braid it. Over time she has seen me do dozens (perhaps hundreds) of braids on her sisters; but her toddler memory, dexterity, and experience just weren't up to the task. After a few moments she let the hair fall and went to do something else.

I marveled as I thought of all the braids she has seen installed through the years--times when I wasn't aware that she was watching or taking note. I thought of what else she has noticed in her short two years when I wasn't thinking about my audience. It's a somewhat chilling thought for a parent to consider all the things children might learn that we don't want them to.

Parenting is a little like braiding hair. Every day we weave in a few new strands for our children. Sometimes we encounter a tangle or two to work through. Sometimes we may unwittingly create or incorporate some of these tangles and our children have to deal with the consequences later. But a braid is worked at strand by strand, and so is parenting. If we weave in strands of love, kindness, patience, compassion, faith, and gratitude, we will end up with a nicer end product than if we weave in too many snarls of haste, shortsightedness, unkindness, or short tempers.

In the end, we are grateful for the Master Weaver who can smooth our cares and heal our snarls.
                                                       Portrait of Christ smiling
As for me, I want to weave in as much love as I can.

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