The Skin In The Game

Much of my childhood was spent picking gravel out of the scabs that were my elbows and knees. This was primarily due to the fact that I approached every physical challenge with an infinite amount of zeal and exactly zero amount of exit strategies.

“Want a race?” usually meant something different to you than it did to me at that age. To most adolescent girls, it might have meant a friendly ‘ready-set-go!’ from here to the street corner. To me? It meant that I would get to the corner first (so help me) even if it meant sliding headlong into the curb and oozing gritty road-rash for months.

Also. For many years it was also wildly important to me to win every loose-ball, no matter how much skin I managed to leave on the court. You could always find me (slightly concussed…another chipped tooth…white knuckled grip…) at the bottom of every scrap and scrum. I LITERALLY had so much skin in the game. So much skin.

As I recall, this didn’t seem to overly faze my parents. Sure, they probably grew weary of bandaging the bloody nubs where my toes should have been – but there was no excessive alarm or condemnation of my growing body, mind, or spirit. They were excellent at letting me be me.

My parents had no looming agenda for my childhood. What a gift that was to an intense and competitive daughter – to not be tasked with personally changing the world! I wasn’t expected to be the hero, the beauty queen, or to discover the cure. It wasn’t important that I be a poster-child for my parent’s personal agendas, however worthy and important they may have been.

If you are a parent, what is your agenda for your child’s childhood?

Instead, I was given uncluttered soil – physically, relationally, and spiritually – in which to root down and slowly unfold to the sun. My childhood was a holy one, not because I was particularly good (I wasn’t) or because my parents were perfect (they weren’t) but because it provided sacred time and space to become the woman God was forming me to be.

All this has been on my mind lately, especially in light of the gender/bathroom discussions so many of us are having. Really, is there anything worse than adults hijacking the holiness – the wholesomeness –  of a sacred childhood to promote their own personal agenda? No. It’s vile.

*PS I know that some of you wonder what it would have been like to enjoy a childhood. Perhaps your parent’s agenda resulted in significant physical or emotional neglect. Maybe illness, death, divorce, poverty, or abuse forced you to grow up far too quickly.

I’m so sorry. The great loss of your innocence – the childhood you deserved – will be restored to you one day. Your Heavenly Father will restore to overflowing all that the locusts have eaten.

Or perhaps your parent’s agenda meant that you were supposed to be morally flawless. You were to be the responsible one; the good girl who always made the right choice. You were to be the courageous leader (never the mindless follower). You were to keep the peace; blaze the trail; think for yourself; take a stand; be nice and polite, get excellent grades, and make all your people so very proud.

I’m so sorry. A holy childhood also includes stumbling, failing, bad choices, every form of confusion, and being too scared to speak up and do the right thing.

If you are a parent, what is your agenda for your child’s childhood?

Of course it’s wrong for any adult (parents, grand-parents, clergy, lawmakers, filmmakers, presidents) to use children as pawns. Why? Because they aren’t putting their own skin, their own childhood, in the game. They are stealing and sacrificing the childhoods of others to serve their own gendas.

Note to self: I must not be afraid to call a spade a spade in these matters. Am I willing to dive into the scrum and suffer some road-rash if needed? What parenting challenges are worth the scabs and the scars?

But what about the hidden agendas I have for my own children during their childhood? Are they holy? Are they rooted in eternal truth? Are they informed by mercy?

Note to self: Don’t despair.

For all children belong to a Heavenly Father who made them and loves them. They are marked as his own and he has infinite zeal for their eternal good. This Heavenly Father has the power to finish – to make perfect – every good thing that he has ever started.

How do we know?

Because our God is not afraid to get dirty. To bleed. To sacrifice his own body so we will be not be harmed. He has lots of skin in the game. And once you (and your children) are in his grip, he will never let you go.

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Peace to you and yours. Because God’s holy agenda is that we would know him, trust him, and rest – even now –  in his eternal peace.

Kim

1 response to The Skin In The Game

  1. Rick Everswick says:

    Loved this Kim. Could not agree more. What a gift we received and get to pass on. Love you and always enjoy hearing how the good Father is speaking to and through you.

    Rickles

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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