We are raising four young boys, aged 4 years to 10 years old, to be God-fearing men. Brian and I, as their parents, probably write and talk about our children just as much as other parents. Our parenting skills are constantly being honed. My husband and I were raised with different parenting styles, and we have tried to raise our own children with what we think is best for our family. Still, no one method is perfect! Last Saturday, though, was a real pat-yourselves-on-the-back day for Mr. and Mrs. Doyle. God definitely has to be the forefront on all of it, though.
Our community had a "Prayer at the Square" event. Brian was helping lead with a devotion and prayer, and all of our children attended with us. There was only one other child in attendance, and he happened to be their friend. All five kids played together after the service, walking on the planter walls, chasing each other behind a big tree, and just having a good time while all of the adults visited with each other. One woman walked up to me to marvel at how all of our boys were getting along. She said that she essentially grew up an only child (her siblings were teenagers when she was born), and always wondered what it would have been like to instantly have a friend. I told her that our kids actually get along most of the time. It was still good for them, though, to have other kids around too.
We left the town square to do a little shopping outside of town. We were on the hunt for at least one birthday gift for our soon to be 8-year old. We already had something in mind, but we had to split the duties in the store. One of us would shop for the birthday items, and the other would take all of the children to another part of the store on a ruse to buy some spirit gear (homecoming week) and household items. I had the fortune to have all of the children with me.
Before shopping, we had lunch at a fun place called Tailgaters Burger Company. The dining room was moderately busy. we opted not to push two tables together for our crowd of 6 people, and just added a chair to our table. One of the patrons at the table nearest us came up to me before her party left the restaurant. She said, "I just have to tell you that your boys praying at the table was the best thing I have seen all day." We usually ask our children "who wants to say the prayer before we eat". Although we were in public, three of our children shot their hands up. In turn, they blessed the food, and it seems they blessed those around us too! At least one of the children asked God to keep everyone in the world away from sickness. Another asked God to keep people from bad car accidents. Another one asked that God would let us have a good day together.
After our trip out of town, we returned home (with at least one birthday gift smuggled into the house). We just had a really good day together! On Sunday, after all of the morning church services, we came home. No one was hungry for lunch, and they just wanted to play. The boys ended up building a race car track from a kit. It included a remote control for the cars. They called us into their room several times to show us something new. It really touched my heart to see them all so proud of their work.
I loved that it kept them busy, but I also loved that they were learning. Besides the S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills, they were also learning to work together. We are constantly telling them that they will always be brothers, and they need to love each other always. It was good to see them happy to be around each other, and that they could accomplish more by working together than trying to do everything by themselves. Their track is easily accessible to them right now, so we might just have to use that when they are all not getting along again! God has blessed us with our boys, and we can see HIM working through THEM.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3:8 (English Standard Version)