We recently spoke in Mobile, AL, for our third time at the yearly Parent Summit held at Spring Hill Baptist Church. Over the years, we’ve developed some sweet friendships with the church staff and members. Our friend, Erica Holloway, the children’s minister, wrote these words to introduce the Are My Kids On Track conference. They made us laugh and tear up as we thought about all of you. We wanted to share them with you to remind you that we get it. There is SO much on a daily basis. And to remind you that every bit of that track is covered in God’s grace. He is with you. And He is the perfect parent, in the midst of it all, so that you don’t have to be.
-At some point in time, we all decided to jump on the parenting train. It didn’t take long to wonder if you had come “off the rails” as you faced sleepless nights, endless feedings, and ear infections. But…late-night snuggles, toothless grins and soft coos and all the firsts were “just the ticket.”
Then, you find yourself trying not to “blow your stack” as your toddler says “NO!” 2372 times per day, has outsmarted every childproof feature in your home, and occasionally “lets off a little steam” with something that resembles a temper tantrum. And we didn’t even mention being “railroaded” by potty training.
Then, it’s full steam ahead through the grade school years with baseball practices, piano lessons, gymnastics, laundry, basketball practices, ballet lessons, homework, laundry, class parties, birthday parties, Sunday School, laundry, PTA meetings, soccer games, swim meets, play practice, choir practice, slumber parties…and laundry, Tae Kwon Do, cheerleading, guitar lessons, and …laundry…and you find yourself saying more often than not “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can...”
Then comes the crazy train commonly referred to as middle school. We wonder if we can still maintain all of the above while avoiding the train wreck of social media, peer pressure, science fair projects, puberty, hormones, mean girls and…laundry.
Then, it’s the first day of high school and we’re on the fast track to graduation with make-up, homecomings, standardized tests, AP classes, IB classes, boyfriends & girlfriends & break ups, drivers’ licenses, and laundry, college applications, sports, clubs, band, summer jobs and…laundry.
Then you find yourself at the end of the line and you know this isn’t a ride you would have ever wanted to miss at any age—at any stage. Every tear, every smile, every disappointment, every joy, every super busy day, every quiet evening, every carpool line, every piano recital, every soccer game…it was all part of a really beautiful ride!
-Erica Holloway, Minister to Children and Families, Spring Hill Baptist Church