I don’t remember why they pulled their library books out of their backpacks, as they sat together in our front yard, but I do remember trying not to panic.

The other two boys, who were in my son’s class at school, had thick, Harry Potter-sized books. And my son was sporting his regular Curious George-sized material with the big print, thick glossy paper, and pictures on every page. The boys didn’t seem to notice the contrast, but I sure did. 

I non-nonchalantly asked my son’s friends their purpose for checking these books out. Were they getting reading material for an older sibling? Were they trying to win a contest which involved a trip to Disney World? Had their parents bribed them?

But, no. The reasons they gave were your commonplace ‘because-I-want-to-read-it’ response. Commonplace for them, maybe; not for my son. Which troubled me greatly.

That day began a two-year panic, during which I launched a ‘Get-My-Son-To-Read-Thick-Books’ campaign. My logic went something like this: Kids who read do well in school. Doing well in school is the first step to a happy, productive life. Therefore, if I want my son to have a good life, I must get him to read.

We laugh about it now, because my son loves to read–the thicker the better. But at the time, I was not laughing. All of my hopes and dreams for him were suddenly hinging on how thick the binding of his library book was. I pestered and bribed and cajoled and nearly drove the wheels off our car on my many trips to the library.

I’m still learning the balance between nurturing and controlling in my role as a mom. Back then, it only took some kids comparing library books in my front yard to put my inner Control Girl into project-and-panic mode. Today, it takes far less than that. (Sorry, my younger mom-friends. It doesn’t get easier!)

But God is teaching me, both then and now, how to lay my dreams for my children on the altar. To place them in His wise and knowing hands. And to recognize that my kids are far more blessed to have Him in control of their future than me. Even when their books aren’t the thickest in the class.

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