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Some Wisdom for a Five Year Old

August 25, 2010

On Monday of this week, our oldest daughter went off to Kindergarten. I took the day off from work and drove her to her first day of school. The whole experience was an emotional mix of excitement, pride, sadness and relief.

On this occasion, as I watch my little girl begin her formal education, I wish I could impart some wisdom to her. However, even if I did, she wouldn’t understand so, instead, I’ll share it with you, the readers of This Pilgrim’s Progress, hoping that one day she’ll read these words and understand.

Dear Emily,

On the occasion of your first week in Kindergarten, there are a few things that I think you should know. Learn them today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

1) People are the greatest source of joy and pain you’ll ever know – You cannot imagine the pain that others will inflict on you. Even if you could, I wouldn’t want you to. That’s all part of living in a messy world in which men and women, boys and girls are cut off from their original state and purpose: relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with one another. All of that is broken, but not beyond repair.

Hope is not lost. God is not lost. Love is not lost. You see, as much as we try to protect ourselves from the hurts that others inflict upon us, opening ourselves up to possibility of pain to love is the only hope we have to see glimpses of the divine still hidden in the elusiveness of authentic relationship.

2) Faith will never be easier – Over the past couple of months, your mom and I have convinced you that I have eyes all over my head and that I see EVERYTHING you do, even when I’m at work. I’ve seen a glance of doubt pass across your face but you’ve made it abundantly clear that you believe this to be true. This is a beautiful thing.

At five years old, your first reaction is to believe. This makes you wonderful. I will do what I can to help maintain your youthful innocence, but I know the day will come when you will wrestle with the big questions of life. You’re going to become more rational, yes, but also more cynical. You’ll doubt the things we’ve taught you about life and about God. May your questions abound, and I’ll do my best to help you answer them where you allow me. After all, it won’t be long before your faith will have to stand on its own.

3) Discipline will never be easy – You’ve only begun to understand that every action has consequences. This will become abundantly clear as time goes on. Sometimes the realization of this lesson will be pleasant but, most often, you’ll re-learn it in ways most unpleasant.

You’ll scream and shout, perhaps even shake your fist at the sky and ask, “Why?” It won’t make sense to you in the moment, but every moment of discipline, disappointment and failure contains a million opportunities to learn, rebuild and gain strength. So, go ahead, sob loudly and make a big fuss, but then quiet your mouth and your mind and listen for the words of correction.

4) You are You – Dr. Seuss said it best, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

There are lots of people who will try to tell you who you are. Beware of these people. You can give them power by proving them right, or prove them foolish by being something different. Ultimately, the power is in your hands.

And finally,

5) Floss- Because teeth don’t keep coming back and dental bills ain’t cheap.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 7:11 pm

    Chris, I knew your [wonderful] wife back in the day, and I’ve been following the postings she’s shared with us the past couple weeks. What a GREAT husband and father you are — I love this post. I find your posts always insightful, interesting, and guiding. I look forward to your posts. It’s hard for me to imagine what it will be like when I have babies going off to school, but I hope that I’ll have the same wisdom to share.

    Thank you for being a wonderful husband to Michelle…

  2. metal spinning permalink
    September 18, 2014 4:29 pm

    I do believe all the ideas you’ve presented for your post.
    They are very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for beginners.
    May just you please prolong them a little from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

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