Understanding The Growth Capacity Of Children

How fast does the clock tick?

That depends…

If you’re a grandmother, watching your babies grow into adolescents, then time whizzes.

If you’re a first-time mother, anxiously awaiting the arrival of your colicky six-month-old’s first tooth, so that you can sleep through the night once again, then time crawls.

If you’re a seasoned mother, when you’re dealing with the terrible twos and intolerable teens and trying in-betweens, then time drags. But, when you rush to make dinner before the bus beeps, settle the little ones before the next division marches in, tidy up some housework before the night slips away, then time speeds.

In reality, the clock moves consistently. It doesn’t skip a second, it doesn’t pause for a millisecond. It’s our challenge to stop pushing the clock backwards-and stop racing the clock forwards. We must aim to live with the clock, appreciating the special gift that every new present offers us.

Yes, we have lofty goals for our children’s future. However, we have to be understanding of their “growth capacity” in the present.

It’s crucial to realize that growth is a gradual process. Plants don’t sprout overnight. Neither do children. While you anxiously wait for your offshoots to blossom, you may see very little apparent improvement. Yet, deep underground, all your nurturing and nudging is planting seeds of growth.

It’s important for us to be patient, to realize that life takes time. How much time and effort does it take for us, adults, to master one good trait? Children are people, too. And change is difficult for them, as well. We must be understanding, encouraging and patient. Very patient and very encouraging. Then, with parental guidance, some day in the future, we will see positive results.

It’s important to realize that growth is a process. A process has steps. A person undergoes various stages. We must demand age-appropriate expectations. We must know where our children are holding, in order to help them keep on climbing the ladder. After all, we can’t expect to reach the top of a ladder if we skip pivotal rungs. Evaluate whether expectations are age-appropriate and realistic.

After all, if we push our child to do something before he’s ready, we’ll have to push. And “pushing things down his throat” breeds resentment. Once an action is associated with bad feelings, it’s very difficult to undo the damage done-even when it is already the appropriate time for the child to assume this responsibility.

Behaviors a child will outgrow, we can overlook. Behaviors that grow with the child, we must correct.

What a powerful lesson! Sometimes, we become frustrated that our two-year-old bites, our four-year-old doesn’t share his new toy and the five-year-old fights. Of course we have to put a stop to improper behavior. However, we must realize that we are dealing with a two-year-old, who is acting like…a two-year-old. And that’s the way he’s meant to behave!

This brings us to our final thought. Enjoy your two-year-old, your ten-year-old, your twenty-two-year old. True, our children are still a “project-in-progress.” True, the process takes time. But, enjoy it while it’s here.There are so many singular joys, unique to every stage of life. We must take a moment to pause and thank God for the challenges, the triumphs, the pleasures and the pains of this special present. Because, when you think about life, it speeds by so fast. All too quickly, this special stage of motherhood, when we are the focal point in our child’s life, is replaced by new stages with different sweet moments. So, treasure the gift of the present.


12 responses

  1. My children are all teens, and I’ve learned that eat age/stage brings new joys and new challenges…enjoy them all!

    1. Definitely! A good point to remember – enjoy them all before the time flies by!

  2. Time flies once you have kids. They keep you busy and give you plenty of work to do. 🙂

    1. Yup! When they get older, you somehow wonder how it happened so fast!

  3. I had two (almost) grown children before I had Ava who is now 3. It’s funny…I am more patient now and as such, savor and enjoy EACH stage. I think that I tend to “rush” her to grow up less (maybe wish is a better word!) than I did with the others. Except for the whining stage…that I want over yesterday. ;/

    1. Once you saw with your older children how fast the time goes, you now want to enjoy it while you’re “in it”.

  4. Thanks for the reminder. Having a 5 and a 4 year old, sometimes with the frustration of the minute while they are doing something they “shouldn’t” I forget these times will pass so quickly and I’ll be wishing they’re still here. Thanks for reminding me to “stop and smell the roses”.

    1. My Pleasure Jenn! It can surely be challenging but we don’t want to regret not having enjoyed the times when our children were younger.

  5. I like “We must demand age-appropriate expectations.” I know there are people who say (my husband for one), “he’s just a toddler” or make excuses for them, but I think it’s our job as parents to understand and really guide them towards where they need to be. This is such a great article Sharon. Thank you

    1. Thanks Lexie! You’ve got a good point here!

  6. I remember my first child couldn’t grow up fast enough – I was so excited to see her develop and do ‘everything’. By the time I got to my last child I would hold him close and pray his growth would slow down.

    1. Yeh Becky! I think I’ve done the same!

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