Feet-stomping and cheering thundered, as notes danced around our heads like girls performing a jig. We sat captivated by the swirl and excitement pulsing amongst the people. The yearly Scottish festival in Estes Park Colorado was in full swing as kilted men and boys sauntered in and out of tents, and women adorned in wools swayed with plates of haggis steaming from their plates.
The music swelled and built into heart wrenching beauty as the violinist drew us into her Celtic spell with notes as clear and sparkling as the sun coming through the cracks of the tent. Truly, it was a heart touching melody.
To my side sat a wiggly, curly red-headed little boy, who was sporting his kilt with pride, and straining to stand in his chair to see every rhythmic note being played. Snapping his fingers, he looked at his father and said, “I would do anything to play a fiddle like that! I’ll bet she is a champion fiddler!”
“That is exactly why we make you practice and practice your violin lessons every day. It requires lots of repetitive practice to become a champion. She had to repeat scales, songs, rhythms over and over again so she could eventually do it as second nature,” the Dad spoke loudly above the roar of the clapping and stomping toward his little boy’s ear.
“Well, now that I have seen it and heard it with my own ears, I know what you mean. Is that how you got to be a good fiddler? I’ll practice when we get home tonight! Do you think I could become a champion player like all those people in the band?”
“Son, if I learned to do it, I know you will grow up to be just like me if you practice!”
So often, we only see the mistakes of our children, their weakness, fusses, messes. But we also know our own mistakes and fragility of character as we seek to build godly children in the midst of chaos. And yet, the father so accurately defined the process that a champion is made by years and years of training and practice. What is true in music or sport is also true of character.
One day as I wearily scanned the mess of our living room with toys, dirty mugs, papers, stickers and crayons, and a few crackers strewn on the carpet, as the tornado of children and their friends ran through the house, I had the thought that life was never going to change and I was going to be consumed by the constant stress of it all.
And yet, now that I look back on those years, I realized that part of training my children to practice their manners, to learn how to do chores, to develop a work ethic, was designed by God for me! I had not been trained for this job, and yet, my vision and one more quiet time kept me putting one more foot in front of the other. The vision of seeing my children grow strong—morally sound, spiritually vibrant, and emotionally healthy, kept me going out of a well-spring of love and vision for what I was shaping them to become.
Becoming a champion mom did not happen overnight. But as my own children grew character muscles from practicing obedience, I saw my own spiritual capacity grow. Patience with my fourth teenager in the midst of hormones came from practicing with the others. Making homemade meals for literally dozens each week started out as small snacks and attempts to feed my toddlers. Teaching my teenagers how to make godly choices in the midst of temptations came after practicing teaching my little ones the stories of the New Testament.
Taking responsibility to train my children ended up training me. Without the assignment given me by God and the encouragement to “keep practicing” I may not have realized what a melody of beauty I was creating through the powerful influence of our home. God was using these life exercises to build me into a child who more clearly bore the character of Christ.
Champion mamas are created after much diligent practice. And our children become like us as we show them how to practice righteousness from the daily choices we make.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. ~Galatians 6:9
Sally Clarkson, ITakeJoy.com