Raising a child to adulthood in the new age

By WYATT EMMERICH,

I suppose if I had wanted to live a calm, peaceful, boring life, I would have married a calm, peaceful, boring person.

Instead I married an off-the-charts rock star. Rock stars can be a pain, but when they take the stage, it’s magical. And so it has been.

They say that opposites attract. Ginny and I are indeed opposites in many ways. I am a meticulous planner, traditional, set in my ways. She is a free spirit, spontaneous, quick to laugh and have fun. I am perfectly happy to heat up a can of peas for dinner. Ginny will cook for hours to create a culinary sensation.

At some point during our engagement, it occurred to me that maybe our extremes would blend and our children would be a nice balance in the middle. Instead, our genes must have bounced apart at conception. John is me but even more so. Lawrence is Ginny but even more so. Ruth was God realizing he had already put enough on our plates.

All of which is infinitely silly. As though I had any part in the process. As my dear friend Bob Crisler always reminds me, “We ain’t driving.”

I can remember thinking what a great parent I would be and how perfect my child was going to be because I was going to teach him about all the stupid mistakes I made and he would learn from this. Ha!

Billions of years of evolution has produced the penultimate achievement on earth – a newborn human being. The genes of that newborn have withstood all the famines, floods, war, disease and perils of life. They are the survivors.

God’s ways are a mystery to us. Being a parent is a gift from God, a sacred opportunity and a sacrificial obligation. It’s expensive and hard. The rapidly changing world makes it even more so. Often parental advice is based on a world that no longer exists. They don’t come with instructions.

One thing I’ve learned: Each child is different. Each child is special. Each child is a creation not of you, but of God, destined for a life that only God has planned.

Mississippi is the only state in the union where the age of the majority is 21 years instead of 18. Being the most religious state, maybe we realize that parenthood lasts past 18 years. Indeed it never ends.

John is doing great at Belhaven. A late bloomer, it hasn’t been a walk in the park, but then life rarely is.

The lives of John and me are intertwined forever. So many adventures. So many struggles. So many tales. We have navigated the river of life together. I wouldn’t change a thing, even if I could. Happy birthday, John! You made it to adulthood.

 

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Madison-Ridgeland Academy had a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the opening of the new middle school building and dining commons.