Archives For children

My Baby Girl Is Twelve

Erik Cooper —  February 9, 2011 — 4 Comments

Today my baby girl turns 12. Twelve.

Donuts come in dozens. So do roses. And now I guess years are packaging that way, too. Who knew?

To top it off, Mandy and I have officially become those parents. You know, the ones who spout annoying, clichéd sayings like “when did she ever get that old?” and “how did the years pass so quickly?” and “it seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.”

Don’t you hate those people?

(I’m sorry. It just happens like unwanted belly fat and male pattern baldness. Involuntary.)

Yet there she is, in all her emerging womanhood. Emma now shares shoes with her mom. She reads books with no pictures. She (occasionally) even talks to her dad about issues bigger than Justin Beiber and iCarly. She’s like a caterpillar in the early stages of pushing through its cocoon.

It’s beautifully scary.

So this year we’re launching an experiment. A year long intentional effort (that I honestly hope mom and dad have the courage to complete).

The entire year between Emma’s 12th and 13th birthdays is our gift (along with a few tangibles for dinner tonight, don’t worry we’re not crazy). Twelve months of exposure to new thoughts. Specific time set aside to write and dialog about those ideas with Mandy, me, and mentors we trust. A year of brand new experiences. A open window into the world. God’s world.

  • Relationships (and yes, the dreaded sex word).
  • Injustice and global responsibility.
  • Money and how we should think about it.
  • Scripture and what it means to work it into our lives.
  • A trip to an impoverished country.
  • Maybe even a physical challenge (a 5K or a biking event if dad can get motivated).

I’ll keep you posted here on our progress (the successes and challenges).

Our job as parents is to build our kids’ muscles. To help them see the world as God sees it. To get them leaning into their heavenly Father fully despite our own tendency to be such broken examples of who He really is (and trust me, even carrying the “pastor” label, we’re as flawed as they come).

So that when their cocoons fully open, they can fly.

Happy birthday baby girl! Here’s to a great year. To flying. Faster. Higher. Straighter. Closer to the Father.

With His heart in you.

All my love…daddy.

My kids rarely like to listen. (All the parents out there just perked up like their morning coffee finally kicked in). Yep, mine too. No Walt Disney animatronic perfections in the Cooper house. You mistakenly thought it was an “It’s a Small World” boat ride everyday at my place, didn’t you?

Nope.  Just lots of…

Real.

Normal.

Children.

Who are a whole lot more like me than I’d like to admit.

Something major registered with me this morning as I was chiding my 8 year old up the stairs (again). “Teeth. Hair. Shoes!” Far too often, I’m not much different than they are.

Instead of listening and responding to the desires of my Heavenly Father, I choose to wait until the circumstances around me force a reaction. When the bullhorn of reality hits the threshold of pain. And far too often, avoidable chaos ensues (“seriously, you don’t have your shoes on yet?!”).

Thank God He’s far more patient than me.

How would life change if we learned to listen and immediately respond to the ever-speaking voice of our Creator (to become actual followers of Jesus), instead of waiting for the ensuing circumstances to dictate our necessary reactions?