"Oh, hang on, that's a Terrible age!" This comment from a lady last week in Walmart after asking the age of my oldest son, Logan. I had told her, with a nostalgic smile, that he would be 12 on St. Patrick's Day. I still remember being sad after her hasty response as she pushed up in line. I was not surprised though; I have heard that since he turned two. "Oh, the Terrible Two's!" Then came the Terrible Three's, followed by each age that a stranger, friend, or family member deemed to be THE miserable, Terrible golden age. Apparently, if I believed every stranger that offered up their opinion in Walmart, there is NO good age of a child.
I don't buy it. I just don't. My children are not perfect by any stretch of anyone's imagination but I can't think of any time that I would characterize their life by the word Terrible...that in and of itself is terrible. I hate it when I hear people who buy into this worldly way of thinking of children at any age. We have had seasons of their younger lives that I remember as being more challenging then others, children who had moments that seemed more baffling than others, and stages that required more of me than others, but never would I use the word Terrible to describe this time with my children.
You see, I believe these little ones to be gifts from God. Not all gifts are ones that are opened and immediately playable. Most, just ask my husband, have signs that say, "Some assembly required." Some box contents require work to eventually enjoy what's inside. It is very much the same with our little ones. They are work. My work is challenging at times, exhausting at others, repetitive always, and worth every minute. Terrible? No. Not one minute of the past 12 years has been terrible. Not one minute.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Logan came into my arms almost 12 years ago and I would never use the word Terrible to describe one moment of the time I have been given with this precious son. I want him growing up knowing this with all of his heart. Every moment with him, challenging or not, has been wonderful. As each age comes, I find myself saying, "Ok, THIS is my favorite age!"
Terrible 2s? 3s? 12s? I just don't buy into that lie. Our children's behavior does not have to shape how we see them. We are all sinners and fall short of God's standard. As I see it, it is my job to work through the behavior labeled as terrible and if I am diligent and purposeful, I will see fruit.
Proverbs 29:17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
Delightful 2s? Delightful 3s? Delightful 12s? Wow. Seems much more hopeful to me.