Monica Portogallo cautions against the temptation to get so nostalgic in front of our children that we fail to appreciate who they've become.
It’s that time of year when kids are graduating, from preschools to universities. Often, what also comes at this time of year are social media posts about how people told their children to stop growing up, or that they miss them when they were little.
Now I’ll be the first to admit I understand the temptation. It feels like time is slipping through your fingers, and you miss those sweet moments of early childhood. It’s easy to become sad and nostalgic for the past. Kids, however, should not be the people we talk to about this.
Can you imagine if one spouse said to another, “I miss when you had more energy and didn’t have crow’s feet?” The only response I can think of is “Did you think I wasn’t going to age when you married me?!”
It’s not that different from telling our kids we miss how they were when they were younger. Like the thoughtless spouse, telling our kids to stop growing is as if we are telling our kids we wish they didn’t go through the normal process of aging that God intended. We knew they weren’t going to stay babies forever.
At times, too, I think parents forget that not every kid is excited about growing up. I wasn’t. I liked being a kid, and as someone who hit puberty early, I felt like I had a shorter childhood than others. Hearing my mom tell me she missed when I was little made it that much harder for me. I missed myself when I was little, too. I also wanted me to stop growing.
Now that I am a mother, I understand the feeling of missing my little baby when I look at my kids. I don’t tell them that, though. I tell them I loved them when they were little, I love how they are now, and I am excited to see what they will be like in the future. Because that’s also true, and it’s what they need to hear.
“No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
I try to take the words of this Scripture passage to heart in my vocation as a mother. I’m not fit for the Kingdom if I am looking back and cursing God’s plan for children to grow and change.
Copyright 2023 Monica Portogallo
About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.