Grasping – reaching for something, trying to obtain it; but desperate, not in control. (my definition)
See, I have this girl. She’s my mini-me. She looks like me. She’s built like me. Many people say she’s just like me. I say she’s just like my sister, but that’s another story for another day.
From the very beginning, as a triplet, this girl moved more in my womb than the other two babies. I was already getting to know her as the active one. Even from the hospital nursery she was grasping. She was grasping for air when the doctor saw her turning blue.
I should have know then: she was a fighter.
As a triplet, she was the first of the three babies to talk and walk. She was determined to do everything first and on her own. My husband and I have always suspected that she wished she were first born because she is often grasping in competition with our eldest child.
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when she and I butt heads—often.
Her grasping causes conflict. Conflict with her siblings, conflict with her friends, conflict with herself. Grasping to be to be first, grasping to be the leader, grasping to get her own way, grasping to be in control. She can be fierce and get blindingly mad (and so can I). She has required more discipline, consequences and punishments than all my other children combined. So many times I have wondered, “What am I going to do with this child?”
Wisdom slowly seeps in during moments of clarity. When she is grasping, I might or might not give her what she wants, but I must give her what she needs.
- When she wants her own way, we try to compromise and make deals.
- When she wants to be in charge, I teach her to take turns.
- When she wants total control, I teach her that her parents (and ultimately God) are in control.
- When she wants only a measure of control, I give her choices (choices that I control).
- When she is out of control, I teach her to take responsibility for her actions and submit to the consequences.
- When she is grasping for attention, I try to show her that she is loved.
On the brighter side, I’m trying to teach her that God made her with an amazingly strong personality and that she can be a great leader in many positive ways. This strong willed personality of hers has amazing qualities – she has great ideas, can take charge of a group, and isn’t afraid to speak up when needed.
What I have learned (and am still learning) is to look beneath the grasping she exhibits (but still must be dealt with properly) and determine the underlying needs she is trying to fill or perhaps the skills she needs to learn. I am learning that her grasping is usually an acting out of fear and that shaping her character will require meeting her deepest, heartfelt desires. I am learning that maybe I grasp sometimes too, discovering the difference between controlling and being in control as a parent. I am learning that maybe she is more like me than I’m willing to admit.
Most of all, I am learning that God has given me an amazing daughter to cherish and train. I pray I love her well.
A Prayer for Wisdom
Father, I stand before you confessing that sometimes I have no clue as how to shape this girl you’ve given me for a season. I ask for discernment and wisdom to know how to establish firm boundaries and even firmer grace. Help me to lead her well while You, in turn, use her to refine me in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen