My quiver is full.

Psalm 127 stood out for me a couple of weeks ago, particularly this portion:

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in oneโ€™s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them. (127:3-5a, TNIV)

There are moments when I am overcome by the beauty of my children, the wonder of their existence–the brightness in their eyes, their smiles and laughter, their little growing bodies, their clever minds. In these moments I am sometimes brought even to tears because I am overwhelmed with love and pride and wonder and all sorts of things.

But the truth is, those moments are not the norm. Unfortunately and shamefully, I often behave and feel as if my children are a nuisance, getting in the way of the things I want to do, wasting my time, which could be used on things I find more fulfilling. Thankfully, I am quite self-aware in this respect–sometimes I even apologize to my children when I have said or done something wrong; often I feel terrible guilt and regret at the mistakes I have made (sometimes also to the point of tears).

Even with this awareness, however, some days it remains a struggle against my deep selfishness and bad priorities. Some days I set my selfishness aside and we will play hide and seek or tickle or a combination of both and we’ll run around the trailer laughing and screaming or we’ll go outside for an hour or two for an adventure. A couple of weeks ago I even made up a treasure hunt (“three drops of river water; three rotten tomatoes; a grey brick; etc.”). Other days, the victory against selfishness is much smaller and all I can manage is to lay down on the floor with them in passive, semi-attentiveness for a couple of minutes. Other days I manage to do nothing.

I realize that we live in an age of “helicopter parenting” and child psychology where we are almost guilted into doing everything to make our children well-adjusted, and I can’t help but wonder if this over-attentiveness may just make them maladjusted in a different way. Sometimes I imagine the world a century or two ago–did parents worry about spending enough “quality time” with their kids? Were the children or the parent-child relationship any worse off?

I don’t know. Yet I feel I can be a better parent–if only because some days the things which are not important in any imaginable way get priority over my children, and no matter how anti-helicopter-parenting you may be, that can’t be right.

The first half of this Psalm probably has some useful things to say about this as well (“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain…”), but for now I focus on the second half.

May I gratefully receive and enjoy the blessing of my children.

11 thoughts on “My quiver is full.

  1. Linea

    I’ve never heard of helicopter parenting. Explanation?

    I think we did the “slide by the seat of your pants” kind of parenting mostly. The kids may be mal-adjusted but I think they all know we love them and now that they have their own kids can appreciate more why we made mistakes.

  2. Marc

    Wouldn’t you know it, there’s actually a Wikipedia article about it, Linea:

    In sum, a helicopter parent is a parent that constantly hovers over their children, making sure they don’t scratch their knees and have their hair combed. One sentence from the article sums it up: “they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not.”

    I see there are other terms arising, like lawnmower parenting. Interesting.

  3. mam V.

    Give them a chance to hurt themselves a bit, it will make them stronger and they will learn to cope with occasional unpleasant experiences in their lives.
    Don’t feel guilty that you don’t always spend time with them, you are there when thay need you and they know that. It is good for them to learn to occupy themselves and develope their own creativity.. I’ll stop rambling, you are doing fine Marc.

  4. Linea

    I checked out the wikipedia article. Interesting stuff.
    The lawn mower parents must be something else! I can’t imagine trying to pawn myself off as one of my children to write and entrance exam. Of course it is harder to do when your children are a different colour than you. Following along to some of the other links – I think maybe I have free range kids.

    And you are both doing a good job of parenting IMO.

  5. Marc

    I’m not sure if it’s technically HDR or not. It’s processed copies of the same image layered on top of each other and merged. One layer was very high contrast, another was darker. So I suppose in a roundabout way it is HDR.

    The truth is, I can’t remember exactly how I did it!

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