Children are the Best Reward from God
By CCD contributor: Jiang Zhou , August 19, 2017 06:08 AM
When my wife got pregnant over ten years ago, it brought great joy to our little family. Back then, pre-natal training was very popular and in this way kids would be brighter. My wife and I read one book on pre-natal training so much that it was dog-eared. When my wife started showing, I bought a mini recorder and a bunch of music tapes with my humble salary. Whenever we were free, we would put the recorder next to my wife's belly so that our baby could be influenced by music as early as possible. As parents, our only wish was that God would give us a smart, healthy, and vivacious baby.
When our daughter was born, books on early education were always kept by our pillows. For a while, we took the early education class and bought many materials. We learned from the books that we need to stimulate the infant's brain as soon as possible, or we would miss the most precious window. We began talking consciously with her since she was two or three months old. When we took her out, we kept talking to her so that she could learn some new things with her tender senses to stimulate her brain.
When she started talking, we told her stories at bedtime every night;
When she went to kindergarten, we sent her to classes on zither, dancing, and painting;
When she began elementary school, we signed her up for a Mathematical Olympiad class;
When she got into middle school, we enrolled her for more English classes and tutoring classes on other subjects...
We believed that by not missing a single educational stage could we raise up an outstanding kid. We gave up mahjong, games, tv-time, and other entertainment to create a good study environment for her. We have sacrificed our hobbies just to set an example for her.
As much effort we thought we've put in, sadly, we discovered that our daughter is indeed just average.
When learning zither in kindergarten, other kids could play a melody after practicing five or six times, but it took my daughter over ten times to barely pass;
In dance class, other kids were very flexible and could do splits and arch their backs, while my daughter found it so hard that her tearful face was flushed red;
When it came to painting, the teacher said that her imagination and color were not as keen as other students...
Her grades on all subjects were just as ordinary both in elementary and middle school. Although we approached the teacher for some tutoring classes, there was no obvious improvement.
Since she has hit puberty, her rebellious sentiment toward us has begun to show. She no longer accepts the academic and living arrangement from us. She also fights with us from time to time and gives us the silent treatment. Our family, which was always filled with laughter, now constantly has a cold atmosphere overhead.
We ask God all the time hoping He can change it all. However, we weren't clear on one question: will God grant our wish if we raise our daughter in the pursuit of rewards? Anxiousness and disappointment were over us for a long time.
God, why don't you listen to my prayer? My daughter, you really disappoint us.
Suddenly, an opportunity changed my ideas of educating children.
It was at our 20th high school reunion, I saw Yan Jun, a classmate I hadn't seen for 20 years. He was my desk mate as well as the curve wrecker in all the science classes. He was always No.1 in high school and he was God in our eyes.
He was recommended to Tsinghua University (top university in mainland China) for his graduate and PhD, then worked in California. Not a word about him in 20 years, I always assume that he worked in some high-tech company across the Pacific with good money. You know like sitting in a spacious and cozy office and doing a high-end scientific study.
However, I was surprised when I saw him. His hair was almost grey with a receding hairline. He talked about his life there, "To tell you the truth, I actually live a very hard life in the USA." Although he had a PhD from Tsinghua University, he couldn't find a suitable job with of his expertise. He ended up working as a researcher in a research institute. Chinese, in his opinion, are even worse than Indians in assimilating into American mainstream circles. His work and life were very simple and dull in the last few years: writing programs at work, going home to cook, doing dishes, and be with his kids. He doesn't socialize since he doesn't have many friends.
Yan's story lingered on my mind after the meeting and it led me to re-examine how I raised my daughter.
We read the Bible everyday but often times we forget its teaching. We were blinded by the so-called standard of excellence and success. And it was quite absurd to apply this to my daughter.
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." (Psalms 127:3)
God gives every parent the right to have children and they may be ordinary and normal physically.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
God rewards us with children so that we can take the responsibility as parents, to teach and nourish them to become people that please God. He doesn't give us children to be our private property and to teach them according to an earthly standard of success. We have misconceptions on education that we want them to be successful without truly understanding the meaning. Deep down we can't accept our children as ordinary, however, in God's eyes, even the most successful person in the world will return to being ordinary.
We should accept our rewards as parents. In the future days with our daughter, we will no longer compare her with other kids. We will gradually nourish and discover the qualities in her that please God. We will always see her as an ordinary kid and discover her extraordinary and shining qualities.
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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