She made a beeline for me at the girls night out.
“You said your daughters are strong-willed, right?” she got right to the point.
We found a corner of the room and I waited. She had a lot to say about her precious and precocious two year old, her first daughter.
“She screams no! She throws herself onto the floor when she doesn’t get her way. I can’t go anywhere with her. My sons never once acted like this and I don’t know what to do.”
I listened and smiled and nodded my head because I understood. Sometimes the best way to encourage one another is to remind each other This is normal. And This shall pass. And You’re not alone.
I mean, it’s happening in The Oval Office. CNN is talking about tantrums, y’all. (And I thought my son’s library meltdown of 2006 was epic).
You will survive this hard place.
And most importantly, One day, You will thank God for it.
My own strong-willed girl walked up in the middle of our conversation and my friend said, “Look at your daughter. She loves Jesus. She’s amazing and she isn’t out of control.”
“Not in public anyway,” my daughter quipped and wandered off.
We laughed. Because I’ve learned strong-willed toddlers grow up to be strong-willed teens.
I pulled my friend close and I said these words, “Listen, I know these strong-willed children are challenging. They push our buttons, they make us question our parenting. We cry and hit our knees. But they are used by God to transform us. They show us our humanity, our weakness and mostly how much we need Jesus.
“We want our determined, fierce kids to stand up first to us so someday they can stand up against the world.”
I thought of my own strong-willed girls who have stood against most of my food and friend and fashion suggestions for years, only to see them stand up for faith in the face of a culture that lacks it.
The beauty of strong-willed children is that they are strong.
They will try and lead and manipulate us; starve and dress themselves and win every argument. Their determination will embarrass and thrill us all in the same day.
We will beg and barter and bribe. We will question every move we make and cringe at every fit. But we will remember that their fierce determination is channeled into velvet strength and these kids who won’t give up their will, also will not give in.
Yes, they chase hard after what they want, but they also chase hard after what’s right.
So, Momma of the strong-willed child pulling out your hair, wondering if you’ll ever be able to eat in public again, be encouraged. That little one will change the world.
But first, she will change you.