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Welcome to 2TheHeart!
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. -- Buddhist Proverb
I am excited to share with you a brand new writer to 2TheHeart! This is Jennifer's first published story and I hope to see more from her! Be sure to send her an email or write in care of our Letter Box! (Just reply to this to send a note.)
"Getting It Right" by Jennifer Warner
Parenting is hard. I know. That is a statement of the obvious. Parenting is one of the best projects a person can take on in life, but it is one with few guidelines, tough standards, and shameful budget overages. Kind of like a many major house renovations, except that the consequences of getting it wrong are much further-reaching than ugly wallpaper, which, by the time you have great-grandkids, will be considered retro, and therefore cool.
You’d think, with such dire consequences, God would give us more instructions, but I often think kids are one of God’s most obvious displays of His sense of humor. He gives us these children to raise, makes them as difficult as we must seem to Him, and then sends them without written instructions on how not to screw them up. Of course, the Bible lays some basic foundations for setting them in the right direction, but ultimately, a lot of the day to day work is left up to us.
What can be even more frustrating is the lack of feedback on how we’re progressing with these parenting duties. How do we know if we’re getting it right? Those little areas where we may be blundering a bit are typically brought to our attention in some very public, very quiet place. Like the time my daughter declared to the inquisitive receptionist at the packed doctor’s office she and my husband were in that, no, in fact, we do not go to church at St. Mike’s because Daddy doesn’t like church. Definitely not the whole story, but there really was no adequate defense for it, after being uttered with the amount of conviction only a 4-year old could muster. Or like the time our 2-year old son said, very clearly given his age, a four letter word after knocking his soda to the floor in a restaurant filled with the lunch time crowd. Again, no getting out of that one. Everyone heard the uttered offense plain as day.
Unfortunately, proof that some of the good things we’re trying to teach the little rapscallions is actually sinking in is rarely, or publicly, as obvious. I think that’s why that moment in the car was so distinct to me, and is now so endearing. I was driving Larkin to her babysitter’s after preschool, a common enough event. We were listening to a praise and worship CD from my mom, purchased for Lark after I relayed the story of her singing a few lines of a country song in the grocery store in which, among other things, the singer described herself as a “whiskey-drinking, cowboy-chasin’, heck of a time”, only she didn’t use the word heck. I had been commanded to play Larkin’s favorite song, “Open the Eyes of My Heart”, and had dutifully turned it on, and turned it up, as requested. I was driving along, paying attention to the traffic and the time, worrying about what I’d have for lunch that day, when I glanced back to see Larkin, singing along at the top of her lungs, hands raised up in the air. It was a brief moment, but it immediately brought tears to my eyes. In that moment, and the few lingering minutes after that, I was sure of one thing; that I had done something unquestionably right. The Christian-based preschool teaching and the praise and worship CD had brought about this moment of joy and praise in Larkin. And even though she may not have understood it to be an act of worship or an act of giving thanks to God, I certainly saw it as such, and added my own thanks for God’s help in getting it right, at least for the moment.
As parents, we don’t get instructions, or even a guideline on how to raise great kids, but, every once in a while, God gives us these moments when we know we have brought about something that is good and right.
Even if that moment does only last until the discovery that your kid wanted the other sippy cup that day.
Jennifer Warner copyright 2007
I am a married mother of two, working full time and pursuing my MBA, living in Findlay, Ohio. Writing is a sort of hobby and outlet for me, and I find endless inspiration in my son and daughter. I am currently an unpublished writer, and this is my first submission for 2TheHeart.
The Letter Box:
I'm so very glad that 2TheHeart is back in my inbox today! The soldier's letter was very touching, and such a good reminder of how courageous our men and women in the military are. I'm extremely grateful and proud to be an American citizen.
Love and blessings,
Sandi in FL
I am ALWAYS touched by your stories! You always seem to share exactly what I need, when I need it! "A Soldier's Letter Home" was simply awe-inspiring! What a wonderful young man and how proud his family must be! This is the kind of patriotism you don't see on the news and I wish every single American could read that letter. Thank you so very much for sharing it! Please tell Sgt. Gabriel that my whole family will be praying for him!
Brenda J. - Maryland
I was thrilled to read "A Soldier's Letter Home"! Most of the news is negativity and bashing the war. No matter how you feel about the war, respecting our soldiers should be a priority. This letter ought to be on CNN! I hope and pray that Gabriel and his unit will be protected. If there is a way to get a letter to him, I would like to know so I can write him letters. I will for sure be praying for him! What a great representative of a great conuntry.
JP Field, AZ
I am a veteran and I can't tell you how much "A Soldier's Letter Home" meant to me. To read of such pride, so much honor is a rare thing. I thank you from the bottom of this old soldier's heart for printing this letter. You would be surprised how many soldiers feel the same way.
God bless, James F.
What a wonderful letter from the soldier in Iraq! I hope we can hear from him again and know how he is doing! We will be praying for his protection.