When collecting Pumpkindoodle from her Sunday school class, I saw two blurs, I mean boys, pretending to be warriors while running around a table that doubled as a refuge to a gaggle of bow-headed little girls. My little lassie, with her bow askew, was standing outside the table giving her friends instructions, while another sweet-faced living doll was standing alone, her eyes fixed on her white Mary-Janes.
Teacher greeted me and then politely turned toward the fashionable preschool posse and lovingly said “Girls, I’ve asked you to please not play under the table. And, Jesus does not want us to exclude others. We need to love our classmates.”
As a former outcast and dodge-ball target, my heart sank and I whispered, Is Pumpkindoodle being excluded?”
“Oh no,” said Teacher. “She’s actually the leader of the pack.”
My heart sank deeper, and with a queasy voice I squeaked out my next question, “Is she leading the exclusion?”
Teacher smiled. “No. She’s a sweetheart. She was the first one to come out from under the table and is persuading the girls to join her and invite Angelgirl to play along.”
An audible escape of relief quietly parted from my lips as Pumpkindoodle embraced and kissed my legs. It’s pretty much her standard greeting.
As we exited the building I thanked God for something that I rarely praise…my daughter’s iron-clad will. There have been and will continue to be days where that girl challenges my resolve. We have stood toe-to-stubborn-toe refusing to budge for what seemed like eternity. The child has tested every boundary and performed cartwheels on the thin thread which secures my sanity. Yet, in that moment, I saw fruit. I saw a glimpse of how powerful that strong-will can be when properly harnessed and given to the Lord.
There will still be battles. She’s only four. She has much to learn, and quite frankly my dear, so does her spirited mother. But I delight in knowing that her will is not something to be broken. It is a gift from God. And as with any gift it first needs to be opened and its purpose understood.
Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)