Since the beginning of the year, John has been very consistent with taking one of the girls out each Saturday for a Daddy-Daughter date. No surprise, they LOVE it! Whether it's a trip to the library, fun at the Seminary gym, or a trip to the park, they love their extra special time with Daddy. It has been so sweet to me to see how they respond to John's affection and time together. He usually takes advantage of the time to try to initiate a bit of more meaningful conversation too, asking them some "heart" questions.
Last Saturday it was Clara Anne's turn. They went to the library, and Clara Anne got to choose lots of books for Daddy to read. Being read to seems to be one of Clara Anne's love languages; nothing makes her happier than curling up next to mommy or daddy and enjoying a good story.
Near the end of the date, John began to ask Clara Anne a few questions about her spiritual life. Her answers were surprisingly perceptive. First, he asked her where she had been growing in her spiritual life with Jesus, and she responded that she thought she was doing better at being more thoughtful and not so careless. (I can affirm that this has been an area of struggle for Clara Anne...carelessness and thoughtlessness have been difficult for her to overcome, but we have seen progress lately!). This is a wonderful reason to praise the Lord, because HE has to change her. We were seeing these habits come through in many areas of her life--thoughtless speech, careless or reckless actions, sloppy work in her school lessons, etc. John and I were frequently talking to her, using lots of words to try to help her see these habits as foolish, but ultimately the Lord has to give the power and motivation to change. We are so thankful that there has been measurable and significant progress in these areas!
John also asked Clara Anne what was still a struggle for her. She shared that she knows that sometimes she has a bad attitude, because "sometimes you really, really, really, really don't want to do something, Daddy!" I can also attest that this is the case (for her and for me, now that I think about it!). Now that Clara Anne is 8, she can tend to think that she has the better answer, that she can be in control of her own life and schedule, and that she doesn't need follow us so closely as her parents. But, I think it was very good that she recognized this and hopefully the Spirit will use that to help her surrender her attitudes to the Lord as well!
Seeking to be a godly parent certainly gets a bit more complex as our children get older. Looking back now, it seems so simple when your two year old disobeys, the punishment is clear-cut and then it's over and you move on. But issues of character take more time, conversations, and communication. May the Lord give grace as we parent our children, shepherding them to know and love Him!