Pursue Godliness

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our-animal-lover-sophie-copySophie loves animals.  She thinks about them, plays imaginary games pretending she is an animal, and she wants to have a ranch with horses when she grows up.

     I was infatuated with horses when I was a girl, although I hardly had a chance to ride them.  Still, I read all of the horse books in our library and learned everything I could about taking care of horses.

    In so many ways, Sophie reminds me of myself.  I wonder if this happens to other parents.  I understand Sophie in a way that I don’t really understand the emotions of my other kids or even my husband.  I empathize with the others and I actually think I have more patience with them than they sometimes have with each other because I don’t have the same emotional make-up.  But Sophie I understand. 

    Sometimes, that means I’m harder on her when she gets stubborn, because on certain things (when I really think I’m right) I can’t be moved either.  However, for the most part, I just appreciate Sophie because her personality is subtle and not everyone sees her depth.  She is always thinking about how she can please other people and do something for them.  When she isn’t playing with Mollie, she is usually in the craft room making a card for someone or creating a scrapbook.  She loves to cook with me and do crafts. “Mom, I feel like doing a craft with you today,” she’ll say. 

     She is very creative and imaginative, but not in a showy way like Mollie.  For instance, last week, Sophie came up with an idea to make a swing out of a jump rope and a PVC pipe.  She climbed up a tree and managed to tie the swing up.  The design is simple and rather ingenious.  It also works and Steffi has been in heaven having a swing in the yard.  Sophie has too, although her overly long body has made swinging a somewhat more hazardous operation for her than for Steffi.  We’ve used up plenty of band-aids.

    One thing I do not share with Sophie is her beauty.  I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about her appearance that makes people feel they need to comment about it. She has grown up having strangers comment on her hair, her eyes and her face.  It happens so often that we have tended to deflect it somewhat, especially when Sophie is noticed and Mollie is not (strangely enough, Asian and Hispanic people seem particularly drawn to Sophie!).

    Now that she is seven, I’ve started to talk with Sophie about this attention.  I want her to know that it is all right to be pretty and to be glad about your curly hair, but that the most important parts of her are her intelligence, her kindness and her generous spirit.  Indeed, even Sophie may not make it through puberty and still be considered a beauty.  In fact, eventually age wears on all beauty.  Yet the beauty of the heart is eternal, a gentle and quiet spirit, humble and submissive to serve others.  Dear Lord, Give Sophie such a spirit.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”  1 Timothy 6:6 and 11

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2 responses »

  1. Well, I think I tend to notice Sophie more because she is still and radiates a peace and joy. Mollie is always in motion (when I see her) and radiates a certain energy…not in an out of control kind of way but I can just sense that she likes to be busy and active. I think I identify with Sophie more…it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate Mollie too but I know what you mean about Sophie being noticed more than Mollie. We have the same situation with Grace. Also, I can tell you that I identify with Ally more than any one else in my family. She is the most like me and I tend to be hardest on her because I expect more of her. I also enjoy being with her more (let that be our secret)…but on the other hand, I have lower expectations with Grace because I just don’t understand her. Believe me, she benefits from this. Parenting is hard but worth it 🙂

  2. You are very insightful Angela–but I knew that! I really do understand what you mean about having higher expectations for Ally–I’m like that with Sophie too. I can get very stubborn when she gets stubborn. There was an incident at Legoland I won’t mention but it involved a spilled cup of punch and a lot of screaming, with me attempting to drag Sophie (who weighed at least 60 lbs) over to a screened off area which actually didn’t help at all, since everyone could still hear her. I did win though! sort of. Anyway, I would NEVER have won with Mollie. Strong-arm tactics are totally ineffective at stoping a melt-down. She just gets MORE emotional. Yikes!

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