Once there was a mother of, let's say, 8 children.
This mother was a very busy lady, with very active children. Even though she was aware that she should keep her eyes on the end goal, the big picture, she often inadvertently, and to the detriment of her family, found herself focused on short term goals. This tendency played out in a very tangible way one blustery, winter day.
A soccer game had concluded on a bitterly cold, windy November evening. With her children following along dutifully behind, bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves, the mother trudged through one empty soccer field after another toward the large parking complex.
She kept her head down, only looking up occasionally, to keep the wind from whipping in her face. Finally, her feet left the soggy sod and reached crunchy gravel of the parking lot. She looked up to find the big white maxi van, usually easily spotted amongst normal size vehicles.
The van was nowhere.
She looked one way. She looked the other.
Finally she saw the problem. While walking with her head down, she had veered so far off course that she was now 2 parking lots away from her intended destination. Because of her mistake, she had to walk just as far to correct her path as she did when she started the journey back at the benches.
She groaned and altered her course. She strengthened her resolve. This time she kept her eyes up and faced the wind head on. This time she reached her destination and did not waver right or left.
Does this story sound familiar to you?
During my high school days, my drill team team instructor used to shout through her bull horn from the stands, "IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, YOU WILL ALL FALL IN THE DITCH!!!" when the leader of our 50 member team would carelessly strut past the 50 yard marker, where we were supposed to turn one at a time, one behind the other, and march with precision to center field.
Of course, that meant every single girl would end up in the wrong place, all because the leader missed her mark.
Sometimes we moms are so busy focused on when our toddler will ever pee in the toilet, or our 2nd grader will ever learn to read, or our 9th grader will ever understand exponents, or our high school senior will ever get into college that we forget our real destination.
Sometimes it's even easy to forget that those milestones aren't a destination at all. They are simply milestones. Markers on the way to the real goal.
When I'm frustrated by life's little daily frustrations, backed up plumbing, car trouble, cranky children, it's so easy to put my head down and try to plow through, just get through that one day, without looking up.
The trouble is those days tend to pile up, end to end. And before we know it, we look up and we are just as far from our destination as if we had never started, with our children following along behind.
As for us, our long term family goal is to be together in eternity. On days, or weeks, or months, when we find we have our heads down and our eyes not focusing on the goal, we readjust and remind ourselves of where we want to be heading.
Are you headed toward your goal, Mama? Your children are following you. What destination are you taking them to?