Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Love Affair Waiting to Happen

My five-year-old wants to be a dog doctor. A veterinarian, I tell her. "A dog doctor," she insists.

She will see puppies first and larger dogs later. The big dogs scare her. I learned that when we were playing 'dog doctor' and she lovingly took a look at her eleven-month-old sister turned puppy, but refused to examine her three-year-old brother, who was pretending to be a dog.

"I'm scared of big dogs," she said.

"You're a dog doctor!" I exclaimed when the "big" dog started to cry. "How can you not see him? He's a dog."

Grudgingly, she put her imaginary stethoscope to his chest and rolled her eyes as she listened.

I sighed and kept a close watch on them, making sure that the dog doctor gave this canine the same care that she had given the puppy. She did. And all was well.

Scenes like this are common in our household. Whenever one of the kids shows an interest in something, I try to encourage them to check it out. If they like it, we stick with it. If they don't, we move on.

I try not to pass judgment. I know that words can tear down, build up, or lead someone in the wrong direction.

When I was getting ready to head off to college, it was popular to major in business. That's where the money is, everyone would say. If I told them that I was going to school for English, they would look puzzled and say "Oh...what you gonna do with that?" I didn't know. Maybe teach. Maybe law school. I just knew that I'd always loved to read and write.

But what did love have to do with it?

I went to the University of Illinois in Chicago with a business major and dollar signs in my eyes. After a few semesters of failing the same algebra class over and over, and being bored to tears looking at stock quotes in my business classes, I realized that I was falling fast. I headed to see an advisor, changed my major to English, and have been on my feet ever since.

A relationship with the Dean's List followed. And then there was a love affair with the Writing Center. Now I'm married to my publishing company. And me and youth writing workshops have a little something happening on the side. Who says you can't work and enjoy it too?

Love has everything to do with it. I took a detour, but found purpose and joy where I started.

I try to keep this in the forefront of my mind when nurturing my children's interests, talents, and abilities. Rather than dictate what will work and what won't, I think it's important that we teach our children how to listen to their hearts, and seek God for themselves.

When figuring out how to use something, why not go to the one who created it? I'm certain you'll find that your true love was there all the time.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path." Proverbs 3:6

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