A, B, Z: Lessons from my Daughter

“Zara, it’s time to go home”. It was around 8 p.m. on Easter Sunday and we had been at my sister’s house since early that afternoon.

“Okay!” she replied rather cheerfully. My sister and I looked at each other with some surprise. It was rare for her to give in so easily because she loves hanging out with her auntie and her cousins. I was glad though, because I definitely did not have the energy to drag her into the car. She even waved at them happily as I strapped her into her seat. I quickly bundled her and her brother into the car and we took off on our short drive.

She had been eating some Sun chips her cousin gave her before we left, and when she finished it, she asked for more.

“There’s no more, baby. It’s at Auntie’s house.” That reminded her that we had actually left her Auntie’s house and she asked to go back.

“No, Z”, I replied soothingly “We have to go home so we can sleep and get ready for tomorrow.”

She started whining in that really annoying way that kids have perfected “I don’t have to.”

I’d never heard her say that before. Where did she learn that one from? Hmm…daycare. “You have to, my dear. We can’t sleep at Auntie’s house today.”

She cried a little bit and I just ignored her. Peeved that I wasn’t giving her attention (which would have legitimized her mini-tantrum), she said petulantly “I don’t have to. I don’t have to. I don’t have to!”

That really cracked me up. Maybe she thought that by chanting it three times in quick succession like a mantra, I would immediately give in and drive her back to have more fun at her auntie’s house. She couldn’t see the big picture but I could. I knew that in order for her to get enough rest and be ready for the next day, we needed to go home then. I also knew that she would have many more opportunities to go hang out with her cousins…in her childish imagination, she couldn’t see any of these things and she just wanted immediate satisfaction.

It got me thinking: how many times have I acted like that, petulantly demanding something right now, and forgetting that there is Someone who sees the big picture. He sees what’s ahead and moves me into/through different situations and circumstances in order to get me ready – to prepare me for the road ahead. Taking my daughter away from a fun experience seemed like punishment to her, but I did it for her own good – to give her enough time to rest so she wouldn’t be cranky the next day from lack of sleep. Sometimes God allows certain doors to close in my face…certain relationships to fail…trouble seems to be camped in front of my door…sometimes, it just feels so discouraging. But He sees the big picture – the end from the beginning. I need to learn to trust Him more, because He knows what He’s doing…

Onyih Odunze