It was the preschool end-of-the-year program. I had patiently worked with the children all year, teaching them cute little songs, complete with the hand motions. The day of their program, I watched them file in and take their places on the risers as I played an introductory tune on the piano. Wide-eyed, they surveyed the paparazzi throng of parents who stood behind video cameras on tripods, snapping quick pictures as fast as their point-and-shoots would allow. To the crowd’s delight, some of the more enthusiastic kids greeted their parents with waves and blown kisses from their spots on stage.
As I knelt in front of the children and we launched into our first prepared piece, my heart filled up. Their faces were full of unashamed exuberance. These kids were not too old to be embarrassed by what they were doing. Their genuine grins and bellowing gusto were refreshing. Even at such young ages, they were clearly proud of what they had accomplished. As each little “graduate” walked across the stage to receive their rolled-up diplomas, they posed as the flashbulbs popped. One little boy triumphantly raised his diploma over his head, and the audience erupted in cheers.
I watched the scenes unfolding before me, committing them to memory, especially because my own son and daughter were among the performers. Each fresh, young soul on that stage represented a whole life ahead to be lived. I was keenly aware that all too soon, there will be real homework, tests, papers, extracurricular activities, boyfriends and girlfriends, driver’s licenses, college, marriage, and mortgages facing my little students. But for right then, for that dear moment in front of me, the innocence of childhood was still fresh in their little souls.
How I wish I could know what is ahead for my own children. But whenever I find myself attempting to assume the mantle of director of their paths, I am reminded that it is far better to surrender my desire to control to God. He is, of course, superior to me in the area of leading and directing lives, which is not even on my resume.
My surrender begins this fall, when my daughter enters kindergarten. Dropping her off at school on that first day will be on the same emotional richter scale as dropping off a college freshman at her dorm. A new chapter in her life will open up – academically, socially, and even psychologically. But instead of mourning what is past, I am resolved to react with praise and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving…that God has brought her to this point in her life. And praise…that our loving, heavenly Father is sovereign over all. His plans for her will unfold in due time.
Until then, it is my joy…