If you could do it over … would you?

Our little Future Hoarder of America is four which means school, real school, is right around the corner. With a May birthday, he could either hit the kindergarten crowd next year, or… we could hold him back. The truth of the matter is – everyone these days holds their boys back. In fact, I don’t know many that don’t. I’ll never forget sitting with my sweet neighbor around ten years ago watching our boys play in the front yard. With the boys being our first children, we agonized and analyzed every single decision. And by every, I mean every. From what music they listened to, to videos/t.v. shows watched, to friends, to schools, to playing sports, to….. I have to chuckle just thinking about it. I actually convinced Jon that at three the little guy needed to be on a soccer team, least he be left out or maybe not make the high school soccer team because he didn’t start playing early enough. Like it mattered.

Here I sit with Jack. Having pretty much kept the little guy glued to my side. He has been protected (as insulated as a kid can be in a family of five kids) and laid-back living. Very little stress has entered the boy’s life. But, whether I like it or not, school is around the corner. Not just school but growing up … and inevitably lots of challenges. Some that will be fun and interesting, some that will be painful.

As I talked with one school today about their policy on holding kids back, my mind was forced to remember some of the challenges faced by Jack’s siblings in their elementary years. A few of the challenges are hard to consider. The wounds, though dated, are still fresh – healed, but not fully scarred. I mentally flip through the cards – stopping here and there to remember – hoping that we’ve learned/grown from the situations.

The truth is… we have. And the kids that have suffered are, okay will be, better for it.

But as I considered one of the kids in particular and an especially tough year when the kid was young, I let myself pause long enough to ask the question, “If I could go back and do it over again, would I?”

My answer was a firm, “Yes.” Yes, I would have stepped in and fought… fought harder because the problem warranted outside help. Yes, I would have trusted my instinct and stood my ground. Yes, I would have removed him from the problem. Yes, I would go back and change it all. In doing so, I dare say the kid would be a different person today, with a load of current issues never having reached the surface.

I know I’m not the only one. Haven’t we all hit rewind, allowed our thoughts to consider the what if’s … as if we could pick and choose alternate paths. What if he had driven home a different way? What if she had never flirted or assumed innocence surrounded that kiss? What if we had discouraged that friendship? What if I hadn’t said those things? What if…

Would you go back and do it over?

But in the moment of allowing my mind to consider rewind possibilities, I stop myself and am humbled by a wave of realization. I might want to go back and change things… but the One who promises beauty from ashes, who never allows more than we can bear, who completes the good work he began in us doesn’t do rewind.

He doesn’t need to.

He takes the disasters/the pain/the sorrow/the mistakes/the good intentions and works them together for good in his absolute sovereignty and holiness. No “doing it over” needed.

Is there anything that you would like to rewind and use a mulligan? Take a minute to ponder the fact that you don’t have to. He’s got it covered.

Help me remember this when Jack hits the hard stuff.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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