Children are just on loan

By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist

Home Tours bring memories of our house tour when the boys were small. Emmitt had just built our first house and we had three little boys, Mark 6, Lance 4 and Lane 3 months. We all felt honored when asked to have our home included on the tour. The next few weeks brought a lot of excitement.
Lance, who was 4 at the time, invited his Sunday school teacher to come. In his enthusiasm he explained, “My mom is a nice lady. She doesn’t smoke or chew!”
Emmitt had taken off the vents of our swamp cooler to spray them. He thought it would make them look neater. He heard screaming in the backyard. Rushing to the backyard, he found Mark holding Lance by the shirttail to keep him from climbing up the tree house. Having settled that argument, he returned to back the car out to wash it and forgot he had put the air-conditioning vents behind the car. He discovered smashed vents didn’t fit the cooler anymore.
I had just put Lane — the baby — down for his nap when Mark came screaming through the house. “The beans are on fire!” I ran to the kitchen to find scorched black beans. Lance said, “Mark can have my beans. Mommie, can I have a hotdog?”
I had been trying to paint the boys’ toy closet to hide all the scratches made by well-used toys. A phone call interrupted my painting. When I returned I had two little boys with white hair and white faces. I couldn’t get the paint out of their hair so I decided the next best thing to do — give them a haircut. I had never done that before but it looked so easy. You just clip one side and the other, I thought. They couldn’t be still.
Their haircuts looked like road maps. They wore their wool toboggan caps day and night for a long time.
Finally the day of the tour came and as the last guest left, I overheard Mark and Lance saying, “Sure glad that’s over. We don’t have to be nice anymore!”
Some days, with three little boys, I felt like I was running a zoo. In my mind, I knew that someday they would grow up and I would cry. Guess what? I did!
Children are precious gifts and all too soon are grown and gone. Psalm 127:3-5 tells how valuable children are: “Children are a gift from the LORD; babies are a reward. Children who are born to a young man are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Happy is the man who has his bag full of arrows. They will not be defeated when they fight their enemies at the city gate.” (NCV)
Loving your children is vital to their success. Having had 3 of my own and 31 years of teaching the little ones, I found fifteen wonderful ways to love your children:
1. Read to your children.
2. Say, “I love you” often.
3. Hug your child every day.
4. Be consistent in discipline.
5. Pray for your child’s mate to be.
6. Tuck your child in bed with a prayer.
7. Pray with your child for his/her teacher.
8. Love your child with unconditional love.
9. Be interested in your child’s schoolwork.
10. Listen with undivided attention to your child.
11. Don’t interrupt and teach you child not to interrupt others.
12. Display your child’s special awards or achievements.
13. Volunteer to help when needed in your child’s classroom.
14. Be in agreement with your spouse concerning your child’s welfare.
15. Devote a special time to your child (where he/she wants to go and what he/she wants to do.)
Remember, time goes by quickly, and children are just on loan.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: