This is a Divi tree. I have actually stood at this very divi tree in Aruba where Eric and I honeymooned there almost nine years ago. What’s cool about the divi tree is they grow in the direction the wind blows - so for most divis in Aruba they grow towards the west. You could try and straighten them out, I suppose, but they would likely bend, crack and break because they were meant to go with the wind. This is what makes them unique, what makes them beautiful, what makes them free.
There is much talk in the Christian parenting world about training your children, as in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I totally get it. My child is, among many things, teachable, and it is our charge as her parents to teach her well, to prepare her to walk with Jesus. A brilliant professor of mine, however, challenged my understanding of this verse. One translation of the original Hebrew says something more like “Train up a child according to their natural bent, and when they are older they will not depart from it.” In other words, encourage them to become the most true, saturated version of who they were created to be, rather than your version of who you wish they would bccome. Give them roots in Christ and in His word, and then watch how they grow, how they bend, and train them to do so all the more!
This past weekend my sweet parents took my sister and her brood and me and Harper to Discovery Kids in Huntersville. It was so clearly designed by people with little ones - Harper was the most entertained/enthralled as I have ever seen her. Before I knew it it was as if I was witnessing Career Day toddler style. She went from station to station, tinkering in these mini occupational set-ups. It was hysterical!
|on the back of a firetruck - adorbs|
|taking care of the "meow meow" at the vet's office|
|trying her hand as a paramedic|
|driving a mini-mustang, not sure what this profession is? professional loafer?|
|H and I after her Nascar victory lap. Her daddy would be so proud.|
We have a couple of decades before we start thinking about my child’s career path, but I do recognize that every moment in the in between is a chance for me to encourage her to become exactly who she was created to be, to grow like the divi tree, or a chance for me to impose my own expectations on her, causing her to bend, to crack, and to break. My hope is that I will have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to discern the way she bends. If she is shy, let me not force her to be more pleasing. If she is introverted, let me give her the space for her thoughts. If she is opinionated, let me give her a voice that can be heard. If she runs slow let me not quicken her.
Sweet girl I pray that you would have roots that run deep in the deep, deep love of Jesus. I pray that you would know the joy of obeying Him. I pray that I would see how you bend and whisper love like the wind so that you would become the uniquely, hand crafted wonder that He has created you to be. I pray that you would go the way of the Divi. Wildly beautiful and beautifully free.