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When your child wants to join the circus (+video)

By Bruce Reyes-Chow

www.reyes-chow.com

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Nathan juggles

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on www.reyes-chow.com. It has been posted here with the author's permission.

Every once in a while no, check that, all the time I worry about the future of my children.

Of course, I want them to be kind, compassionate and loving human beings, but I also often get trapped in the vicious cycle of wanting them to achieve professionally and to "be realistic." Far from being the finger-wagging "you have to be a doctor or a lawyer" kind of parent, there are times when I struggle with the possibility that my kids will want to act on the stage, create art or (insert "starving" profession here) as a way of life. I may romanticize "taking the road less travelled" but, seriously, who is going to take care of us when we are old? Joking ... kind of.

I want them to do what I want them to do.

And then on my best days, I am reminded that who my children become and what my children do in their lives must be about who God intends them to become and what God calls them to do. Yes, we parental units will guide and nurture as best we can, but, as all parents eventually discover, the children in our lives are not ours to control, but God's gifts to nurture and love. Sometimes our task will be to challenge and direct them, and, at other times, it will be to give them room and encouragement to dive into and explore the possibilities that unfold before them.

This past week I had a conversation with a friend about his son and my daughter. We commiserated about looming college decisions and our kids who want to juggle and act. In that moment, I found another companion for the journey of parenting kids who are determined and focused on paths that I would never have expected and have absolutely no idea about myself. But here we were caught in that loving space of seeking Gods hopes and intentions for our kids.

One of the ways I have tried to gain some perspective is to notice and embrace the joy that my children experience when they are living their love and calling. My oldest daughter, through her high school, will devote three to five hours, five days a week for four years to her theater discipline all while keeping up with her academics. She has shown to us, in her commitment and care that this is not just something that she is dabbling in, but this is something that she is called to be and become.

Motivating. Inspiring. Cool.

My above mentioned friend's son, the juggler, clearly has the same kind of skills and commitment. Not many of us wake up and say, "You know, I think I want my child join the circus and be a juggler when he grows up," but watching Nathan's, how do you not want to encourage what is so clearly a gift?

I share all of this in no way to say that seeking Gods intentions is an easy task or that kids who become doctors, lawyers or business leaders do not feel called to those professions. I share this as a way to remember that in my children's lives, as well as my own, we cannot let our hopes supersede God's, but rather we must continually strive to have our hopes be the same as God's.

I'll let you know when we figure out how to do that.

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