Rite of passage parenting: A sticky subject
When I returned from the mission field this summer, my wife had a surprise for me. No, it wasn’t a new car or computer. Instead, she had dismantled the dining room. And by dismantled, I mean … dismantled. She repainted the walls, ripped up the baseboards and moved out all the furniture. Basically, our dining room was naked.
For a long time, my wife has wanted me to put down hardwood floors in the dining room.
“Carpet and food don’t belong together,” she says.
I don’t quite agree. I’ve spent many hours lying on the floor watching television and eating all sorts of food. But sometimes it’s easier just to go along than to try and fight it. Most battles like this aren’t worth winning, anyway.
We decided to rip out the dining room carpet and lay new hardwood floors. Ripping it all out was the easy part. Finding the right color and width of boards, however, was a challenge. After days of searching, we found the flooring she wanted. The salesman said I would need to buy glue to put the boards together, and a wave of horror flooded my mind. My old archenemy had raised its ugly head. I hate to admit it, but I’ve had a lifelong war with glue.
I don’t know why glue and I don’t get along. Even in my preschool Sunday School days, my mom would find it all over me. The cotton balls you’re supposed to glue to a drawing of a sheep? I’d end up with them stuck to my forehead, the back of my shirt and the bottoms of my shoes. How that happened I could never figure out. When I got to elementary school, things didn’t get any better. Invariably, my pencil ended up stuck to my desk. I got glue in my clothes, my hair and everywhere except where it belonged.
By the time I reached high school, I took woodworking. Guess what you have to use in woodworking class? Glue! Once again, my nemesis was fighting me at every turn. Many of our projects required gluing boards together. Why was I the only student who could run a bead of glue along the edge of the board like everyone else, only to have the lid fall off and a cascade of glue run down both sides of the board? I spent as much time scraping glue off my class projects as I did building anything.
But the glue I hate more than any other kind comes in tiny bottles: “Super Glue.” To this day, every time I use it, some of it ends up on my hand, and my fingers end up bonded together. So when the gentleman said we needed glue for our new floor, I talked my wife into a compromise. I would put down the flooring if we could buy the kind that snaps together. What I didn’t know was that not only glue, but this type of flooring is a formidable enemy. What should have taken half a day (I know that from those 30-minute home improvement shows) took three days instead. You guessed it. I’m now afraid of snap-lock flooring.
We all have fears. Children often fear the dark. Some fear snakes, spiders and bugs. As we grow older, sometimes our fears spread into other areas like tight spaces or heights. You might be surprised how many times the Scriptures say, “Fear not.” This theme threads itself through the Old Testament and weaves its way through the New. We find God saying it to His children in Isa. 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
When the angels appeared to those shepherds on a hillside, they had to calm the fears of the recipients of the message of our Savior’s arrival: “But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). When my wife was a very young child, she memorized Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard her quote it, and she’s one of the bravest women I know.
No matter what you fear, God’s Word can bring you strength to face it. The younger your children are when they memorize Scriptures about fear, the better prepared they will be to face the unexpected.
It’s never too late for you, either. I’ve conquered my fear of glue, but I still have to quote Scripture when I run into its scary cousin, “Scotch Tape.” Use Scripture to fight your fears. That way, you’ll never get stuck.