A few weeks ago, the hubs and I went to see the opening of the movie Sparkle (a rare date night for us.) The movie follows three musically-talented sisters as they try to make it as an all-girl music group.
The mastermind behind their quest is the youngest sister, Sparkle (played by Jordin Sparks of American Idol fame). Clearly the most passionate about music, she sings, plays the piano and even writes her own music.
Unfortunately, the girls face a series of roadblocks on their quest for stardom, starting with their stern and devout-Christian mama (played by the late Whitney Houston) who strictly forbids any music endeavors. To be fair, mom wants to protect them from following in her own dicey foray into the music world; but she does so at the cost of completely missing the talents her children possess.
It’s a heartbreaking journey for Sparkle because she lives and breathes music. She even questions why God would put such a strong desire for music in her if it was never meant to be used. She can’t understand how the thing she loves most could be so forbidden.
Contrast Sparkle’s story with the real life fairy tale of Gabby Douglas, Olympic gold medalist, and her mom Natalie Hawkins.
By now, most of us know that Ms. Hawkins made the gut-wrenching decision to allow her then 14-year old daughter to move 3,000 miles away to live with an unfamiliar family so that Gabby would have a better chance of pursuing her dreams of becoming an Olympic gymnast.
What’s even more awe-inspiring is that, at one point when the young Gabby, homesick for her family, wanted to call it quits and return home, it was her mom who told her no.
“You can’t come home after all this. You’ve sacrificed all of this time. You’ve sacrificed your body. You’ve sacrificed everything for this dream…You have team members, you have a country that you’re representing.”
Gabby then pleaded, “Mom, come on, you’re supposed to be on my side on this. You’re supposed to have the baby come home. She said, ‘No, life is not easy. You have to fight and just refuse to quit.”
Two moms who love their kids very much. Two very different responses to the giftings of a child. One response, fear-based; the other, faith-based.
As parents, we can’t help but want the best for our children. We want to shield them from the struggles we suffered through or the mistakes we experienced. We want their success—both personally and materially—to exceed our own. And often times, we have our own ideas of how this could all be best accomplished.
However, we must step back and realize that God has created each of our kids with a very specific purpose in mind.
They are all wired with unique gifts and talents—of which we can either nurture or stifle. Rather than taking charge of our children’s destiny on our own accord, our prayer should be for God to give us a glimpse into our children’s future and reveal what he has planned for them. To show us how to guide and direct their pursuits. To show us where to step in and when to let go. Not for our own will, but so that His will and work can be done through them.