When I look at my children, I often think, "Man, I am lucky to be those kids' Daddy." I really see it as a privilege to raise these loving, adorable, happy and rambunctious children. Soon after thinking this, I often wonder if all parents feel the same about their children. Does every parent come equipped with pure, unconditional love toward their kids? So after thinking about it for a while (the time it's taken me to write this paragraph), I've decided to create a quiz that will teach you about your level of love for your children.
1. When your child sprays you with a water hose, do you:
A. Laugh and take it like a champ?
B. Take the hose from them and douse them until they go crying to the opposite parent for help with their figurative tail between their sad little legs?
C. Playfully call them a punk, then take turns squirting each other until you fall laughing onto the lawn?
D. Send them to time out?
E. Take the hose from them and tell them to never do that again?
2. When your child gives you sass, do you:
A. Give them a stern look and ask them not to treat you that way?
B. Give them a stern look and ask them not to treat you that way while secretly turning and looking at parent #2 to see if they saw how cute said sass was?
C. Let them give you sass, because hey, kids don't respect adults like they used to and you might as well get used to it?
D. Sass them right back?
E. Tattle on the sass-master to the other parent?
3. When you have some food you've been looking forward to eating for some time, do you:
A. Hide behind the fridge door and snarf it before the kids realize you have any?
B. Gladly share it, giving the little vultures that have surrounded you far more bites than you take yourself?
C. Share, but snarf as much as you can between their bites?
D. Put the kids to bed early so you can eat it in peace?
E. Brush the kids teeth before you eat it so you can have a good excuse for not sharing?
4. When you get a movie that's not for children, but the kids keep wandering out of bed, completely not tired because you put them in bed at 4:30 to prepare for your relaxing movie/stay-at-home-date night, do you:
A. Quickly stop cuddling on the couch and stand up, furious, sending them back to bed irately?
B. Hear the pitter-patter footsteps and yell to turn them around before they make it to you?
C. Intercept the wee tykes in the hall, gently take them by the hand and explain it's a Mommy-and-Daddy movie and they wouldn't like it anyway, and tuck them into bed with the fifteenth kiss goodnight?
D. Eject your movie, invite the kid into the cuddle party, and put in Thomas the Tank Engine until they fall asleep in your arms?
E. Stop your movie and let steam vent out of your ears while you daydream about making child-shaped holes in your wall?
5. When your child wants a puppy, do you:
A. Say "No."
B. Say "Oh, heck no!"
C. Say "Ask your Mommy/Daddy," knowing she/he will answer A or B?
D. Get them the puppy?
E. Tell them puppies are now extinct?
For the most part, you should be able to guess which the right answers are. Some are not so obvious, however. The right answers may shift from child to child, person to person, or day to day, even. Since these are situations dealing with individuals, I will not provide a cut-and-dry answer key. Except on number 5. You just gotta let them know all puppies got eaten by dinosaurs that then got obliterated by an asteroid which then pushed said squished dinosaurs into the raging inferno of the sun, said impact causing the sun to implode and become a black hole, which only sucks in kitties, thereby helping with the followup question when they find out puppies are extinct.
My point here is that you should adore your children. You won't look back on your life and think, "I should have figured out how to get more movie nights with my wife when my kids were young." But you will always remember breaking your child's heart in situations like these. And if that heart breaks often enough, at some point it becomes nearly irreparable, causing lasting damage to yourself, and more important, those children of yours. It is a God-given privilege to be a parent. I hope everyone can feel that way about their kids. Do yourself a favor: List everything you love about your children. Don't list anything that bothers you - just the things you love. Unless you're Hitler, you're bound to come out with a pretty good list. Then, thank Heavenly Father for the privilege you have of raising children with all of those remarkable traits. You might just forget about all those things that bother you.