I do not know who first penned this wonderfully poignant, prayerful poem; its verses are few but powerful in their wisdom. This is one of those good things you've heard about; you know ... the ones that come in small packages or, if you like, a virtual blueprint of parenting-especially for younger parents just starting out.
I've always loved it and have carried it in my head and heart for nearly thirty years though I often wonder how well or badly I measured up during my own early parenting years ...
"Oh give me patience when tiny hands
Take a really close look at your young children's hands ...are they not amazingly tiny and beautiful? Everyone I hope has either experienced or seen a baby grasp with its whole hand but one grownup finger! My favorite fingers belong to my daughter Kimmy; they are beautifully long and slender, and I've loved them ever since I first beheld them upon her caming into this world! I kid you not ... that her fingers were what first caught my eye.
tug at me with their small demands,
I recall Ben trying to redirect that forkful of dinner away from mine and into his own mouth, seated as he was upon my knee and apparently under the erroneous impression that I was to feed him only!
and give me gentle and smiling eyes,
May your eyes mirror the heartfelt joy of your child's achievement; in other words, let your eyes always see and be seen as they were when you witnessed that first baby step! May they always "remember" that moment!
keep my lips from sharp replies.
Teach by example of speech ... moderation, patience of tone and content. Guard thy tongue for once having spoken ... well, the efficacy of "retraction" is entirely fictitious.
and let not confusion, fatigue or noise
Child rearing can be and is often raucous, enervating and frustrating at times ... step back!
obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys ...
Don't ever pass up an opportunity to smell a flower with a child or watch a butterfly flutter about!
so when years later my house is stll,
You know they'll fly from the nest one day! While there, keep it cozy, warm and welcoming!
no bitter memories its room may fill.
May our parenting mistakes be few and minor in nature so that our children will return to the nest with their fledglings in tow! If you make it this far, commence
*Kvelling ... when your heart pounds with pride and joy upon witnessing your child's accomplishments.