Fifteen years ago at St. Mary’s in College Station, I walked down the stairs with my then 3 year old son. What happened on those stairs opened my eyes and subsequently my wife’s eyes to the fact that parenthood does more for the parents than it ever does for the children. On that stairway, our little boy asked if he could try and walk down the stairs himself. So, I put him down and extended my hand to help. He turned away, immediately starting down the stairs himself. I continually offered my hand step by step. My offer refused every time. 10 stairs down, with me hovering over him but not touching him, he lost his balance and began to fall face forward down the stairs. Catching him by the back of the shirt and preventing the fall, I placed him back on the stairs and then offered my hand again, thinking that he certainly would take it now. Now, he knew the danger. Now, he knew that I could help him. We could walk down together.
Much to my surprise, he refused the hand again. I remember thinking to myself, “Don’t you know what I just did?”; “Don’t you realize that without me you would have a bloody nose and perhaps a broken arm?”;”Don’t you know that I just want to help you?”;”Why would you turn away from that?”. At that moment, as those questions ran through my head, a small voice, not my own, said “Do you know what I’ve done for you?”
Then, Stephanie and I began the adventure of living the mystery of parenthood. In parenting our children, He parents us. When we teach, He teaches us. When our daughter suffers and we experience the suffering only a parent can experience as we suffer with her, He shares a taste of His suffering with us. When our children do something wonderful, and we experience great joy as a result, He gives us a glimpse into the joy we bring Him when we cooperate with Him – when we take His hand and walk down the stairway of our lives.
Have you ever experienced this mystery of parenthood?