How We're Surviving the Terrible 2's
Our daughter Hadassah just turned 2. In the months leading up to her birthday, we've often been asked about "the terrible 2's." Are you ready for it? Has it started yet? Oh, just wait, it's going to be awful. You think she's difficult now, but you have no idea! We get it. Hadassah has been strong-willed since the moment she was born. The more self-aware a child becomes, the stronger their will is going to be, and the more frustrating it is when they can't communicate what they want.
Here's the thing. Our words have power. What we say to our children, or say about our children, will manifest themselves in their actions. If we say our children are sinful and broken, we will create a broken and sinful generation. If we say our child will be particularly terrible this year, they probably will be.
But I don't want Hadassah's 2nd year to be terrible. I watch her interact with people and she brings so much joy and laughter to them. She has such a kind and caring heart, even at such a young age. She sees the beauty in little things, like her cat, or a dandelion on the side of the street, and none of that seems terrible to me. I don't see a sinful child. I see a child created in the image of God, whose soul is a spark of Divine light, shining in the world around her.
Don't get me wrong, we do have our bad days - the days when I call my mom in tears, begging her to just take Hadassah away for a few hours. But those days are rare, and deep down inside I know Hadassah is just struggling to learn how to communicate and how to be more independent.
And what more can I ask for as a parent? It's our job to teach our children to be independent of us, and through their independence to bring glory and honor to the Lord, and to bring redemption to the world. I don't see any exception in the scriptures to suspend that responsibility in their second year.
If anything, we could say, "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who permits us to raise a child, especially in their second year."
So here's to an incredible second year with Hadassah!