Those of you who have become parents know that some major re-wiring goes on in your brain because of them. There are, of course, other things that help change you (passage of time, maturity, God: not necessarily in that order), but in my experience, becoming a parent made the most life altering changes in my brain.
How many of us have prayed for patience. I would tell people half-jokingly, "Don't do it! Don't pray for THAT!" Because, guess what? You don't automatically become patient. It's not a gift that is yours for the taking, purchasing, begging, borrowing, OR stealing. You learn it through repeatedly being in situations that make you want to lose your mind, blow your stack, erupt like a volcano. Well, you get the drift. And if anyone can tell me a better proving ground for learning patience than having children, I'd love to hear it. The practice of patience is daily, hourly, minutely... and secondly on some days. One of the major things that stops me in my impatient tracks is the realization that I am modeling behavior for my children. ARGH. I HAVE to take the high road if I expect them to see how to live patiently. Some days, for me, patience is keeping my mouth tightly shut when I want to say totally useless and unhelpful things like "Hurry up!" and "We've got to go NOW!" and "What is taking you so long?!" and "You should have done that earlier!" These only serve to add fuel to a fire that is beyond my control. The invariable answer from the recipients of these phrases is "I AM HURRYING!" and then their increased frustration, which makes them MOVE SLOWER.
We know that God loves us unconditionally, but we never realize what that means until presented with people that you HAVE to love because they are yours. In our case, getting older children with a history, memory, past, personalities already in place, created much opportunity for learning about love. It makes sense that we did not all love each other right away. We had all just met. And, while Lee and I had a choice in choosing each other as mates, bearing or adopting children gives you little choice. You get what you get. True in any way you create a family. So, now you've got these little strangers in your house, whether a baby born to you, adopted by you, depending on you. And you've got to make the 1st move of loving them. For me, after a couple of weeks I realized that these children were going to be our children forever... and then I had to keep realizing it every day for awhile. We had not had children in our house for that long before, ever, and I'd wake up at night and think, "There are children in the house!" That thought filled me with dread and wonder and fear and joy all at the same time. After a couple of months I realized that I would give my life for theirs, but grudgingly, because it was the right thing to do. After a couple more months, the grudgingly part went away and was replaced by GLADLY. (God never had the grudging part, I'm sure.)
Caring More and Less
There are many things I used to care about, but don't anymore. You can imagine what they are... Lee and I were alone, with 2 good jobs for 10 years. Alone in our quiet house. Able to do anything, anytime. Go anywhere, anytime. I miss those things sometimes. I miss being able to complete a sentence, a thought, an idea without being interrupted. I don't think I've even been to the bathroom in the last 2 years without someone needing me urgently as soon as I close the door. And yet, all this needing me is fleeting. I know that some day, they will not come to me at night because they had a bad dream, because they feel sick, because they heard a noise. I know, or at least desire, that they will grow and mature into a man and woman of God... people that care about the important things (God, other people, injustice, peace) and care less about the unimportant things (power, money, position, video games, TV). In wanting to teach these things, I have been changed as well. I thought and hoped I didn't care about money, until we went to one income so I could stay home with the children, then went to a lower one salary when Lee got laid off and had to find a new job. It took some adjustment, but I certainly care less about money now that we've got less of it. We've got riches in other areas that are much more important.
I know there are many more ways we have been re-wired. What are the ways you have been changed?
These pics have nothing to do with the post, just thought you'd like to see them.