My latest piece for GodlyDaddy.com ...
My three-year-old daughter Penny is already a legend.
Her exploits are so widely known that friends I’ve barely seen since high school will stop us in public and say, “Wow, your daughter is so funny! She must be a handful.”
What they mean, of course, is, “I’m glad I don’t have to deal with all that!”
When Penny was a tiny fragile baby in the NICU for two weeks, we imagined her in a few years as a sweet girl who did nothing but giggle, cuddle and dress like Disney princesses.
You know the joke, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
There’s nothing like a strong-willed child to make you doubt that you’re doing this parenting thing the godly way.
If she was in the Bible, our Precious Penelope would haven taken Esau’s birthright. If she was one of Jacob’s kids she would have tossed Joseph in the well. Delilah? Amateur.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 guides us to share godly thoughts with our kids at all times, “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
I really try. I do. Alas, too many of my words when I’m in my house come out like, “Penny, why did you do that?” “Penny, you’re going to hurt yourself/me/Mommy/Cooper.” “No Penny, you pull the pin and then you throw the grenade.”
When we found out our second child was a girl we envisioned a life of tea parties with stuffed animals. While she enjoys that girly stuff, Penny also likes to leave three inches of water on the floor during baths, climb to the top of her closet, and abandon half-eaten strawberries in every nook and cranny of the house.
When we talk about the “terrific twos,” I mean that she’s been going at it for two years already.
I joke that Penny is a Bond-villain-in-training, which will be funny until I find out about the secret lair she’s been digging under our house that has the full capability of taking over all international intelligence operations.
One thing that I had had to adapt is my attitude towards patience. I don’t mean my patience, but yours. You need more of it to deal with me dealing with her.
You know that child on the playground that is into everything, and every other parent knows their name because her parents keep yelling it? Yeah. Penny.
Of course, I say this mostly in jest, and while there’s a lot of truth in what I write about living with Penny, I’m also so very thankful for her. She may be wild, but she’s my wild child.
And after all, it’s up to me and Darling Valerie to set her straight. We’re the example. Proverbs 20:7 says that when the righteous live blameless lives then their children will be blessed.
Hopefully someday this will going beyond people watching us struggle and shaking their heads saying, “Bless their hearts.”
Proverbs 22:6 famously says to “train up a child in the way he should go,” but it does not go on to explain what to do in the moment your daughter rips up all of your son’s Thomas the Train tracks and tosses shoes in the toilet.
Maybe that’s in Habakkuk. I’ll check that later but right now Penny is under the Christmas tree and I foresee a National Lampoon disaster coming.