Posted by: howvoicebegan | 07/11/2010

Being a Mother and a Child

There is a certain joy in watching kids just be kids, and a special privilege in being allowed to forget who you are and join them. I took four of the kids to my house to go swimming. But, when it started to rain we ran inside. There inside my walls I saw so much of their personalities and individual traits. I know, I have a tough job.
I showed them how to play Super Mario on my computer, let them pound on my new piano, had a pillow fight (when you have nothing in the house, you have no fears of things breaking), and let them dine on my apples, crackers, and peanut butter. Mi casa es su casa. My one rule is that no one is allowed to do chores except for me.

But amongst the fun, I had a chance to watch all of them and see their unique personalities and spirits and only wonder what God possibly has in store for each of them.

I watched Koketso watch us.  She is the quiet observer of the group, often absorbed in one of my books, or sometimes just watching our interactions. But she comes alive with a challenge, and that girl can sure hit hard with a pillow! When we had our pillow fight, Koketso and Tebogo versus Size and me, we did a good job at avoiding Tebogo, or better yet cornering him and pummelling him. But Koketso—what a strategic pillow fighter!

Though Size first went straight to the piano, it was Tebogo who did the best. By the end of the day he could play a simple song, and he understood the rhythm, patterns, and movements involved in playing the piano. Of all the kids, he spent the longest at the piano and was interested in little else. Well, he’s also interested in pillow fighting, hence the start of the game.

Size prefers to interact with me through questions. Many of the kids have developed different ways of saying my name. To some I am “Lexlie,” to others I am “Les-uh-lie,” but to Size I am “Leslie? Can I ask you a question?” When he’s not asking me questions, he is roaming my cupboards, concocting all kinds of simple and strange recipes. You should have seen him sautéing bananas.

Hajirah is so serious and motherly to the younger kids—on the outside. At the house, she is always doing chores, always correcting the younger children, and hardly ever playing. But, when given the chance, she breaks down the barriers. She was playing the piano, playing Super Mario, making cracker sandwiches, locking me out of my own house. No really, I am in control; I just choose not to fully exert it at times.

I just really felt blessed to experience these incredible people all with me. They are all so beautiful—truly. All in one place with me I had such a richness of talent, spirit, interests, and characters; seeing little buds of God’s creation was so thrilling, and I feel spoiled to be able spend time with them.

And you know, as much as I’m watching them, they are watching me. Thus, while I have the chance to be a kid with them at times, I also have great responsibility to be the kind of role model that I can feel good that they are emulating—because they certainly will. Just in being in my house, they were acting like me—playing the piano, cooking, reading, goofing around on the computer.

Hey, playing is just part of the job description.

What tremendous responsibility we have! As parents, teachers, pastors, disciplers, babysitters, we have a responsibility to train “children” in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), be it spiritual or real children. I build a bond with the kids by getting to their level of fun, and then when they come to me with real problems and real struggles, I have an incredible opportunity to reach them.
Mama Hilda says I am one of the house mothers, but I am also her oldest child. This dual role is exactly where God wants me to be—a goofy playmate to the kids, but a dispenser of wisdom and love to them. If I were purely a mentor, I would be unrealistic to them. If I was solely a friend, I would be wasting the resources God has given me to pass on to them.

Therefore, I shall keep playing, praying, goofing around, supporting, laughing, and loving.

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