We gathered together often for holidays, family birthday parties, basketball games, Sunday dinners, game nights, and pretty much any other activity you could think of. Our 4th of July party was always one of my favorites. We would have chicken fights in the pool, play on the swing set under the shade tree, burn some hot dogs on the grill, and set off fireworks in the backyard. Our party would die down around the time when all the parties on The Strip began. We would relax in the warm night air and watch the fireworks shows from my grandparents’ porch that overlooked the Vegas skyline.
After a few years away from home, I went back to Vegas and spent the 4th with my family again. However, the view from my grandparents’ porch wasn’t like it used to be. Over the years, the shade tree grew so large it started to obstruct our view of the fireworks. Instead of having the party at my grandparents’ place, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house down the street. When the time came to watch the fireworks, we set a ladder on their porch and climbed up to the roof. Watching the fireworks from that roof was incredible! I never noticed how much that tree had blocked my view until I viewed the fireworks from a different perspective.
Watching a child grow and reach their full potential can be a bit like a good fireworks show—exciting at times, disappointing at times, but ending up better than we imagined.
Our children’s current choices can often be a tree blocking our view of their potential. We can sometimes think, How is my child going to become a responsible adult if he can’t even drive the speed limit? If she can’t keep her curfew?
Our own dreams might even become giant redwoods blocking our view. If we dream of our child becoming a doctor or lawyer, what happens when she decides to be a teacher instead? Will we be able to see her full potential as a teacher when we are so focused on how she could make a wonderful surgeon?
When children are making unintelligent choices, we can choose to look around that tree and see our efforts as worthwhile. We may not be able to see it now, but sincere efforts made for family members are never wasted. Even the smallest hug or the simplest advice can have far-reaching consequences.
When our dreams for our children become trees blocking our view, we can move to a higher position and look above the tree by seeing greatness in our children. Look for greatness in everyday situations. When a child pitches in and helps with chores, when he shares with others, when she shows responsibility—those are everyday situations that show future greatness.