by: Topher Wiles
What began with tears of frustration ended with a smile of joy. At any age, freedom comes with a cost, a tough lesson that my wonderful wife was determined to teach my darling daughter. At three years old, Clara was delayed in potty-training just a bit longer than her three older brothers. As I got up from my chair at the kitchen table, my daughter stuck out her quivering lower lip with tears streaming down her cheeks. So deep was her desire to go with dad on a hardware store run that she was devastated when her mother said, “No.” Ashley cancelled all her regular routine and daddy-daughter trips to stay home and teach Clara the value of keeping that big girl underwear dry. Ashley did not to the YMCA for her normal morning Pilates class, and we cancelled our evening tennis, all in the hopes that Clara could be trained to use the porcelain. Yet the deepest cut for Clara was being told “no” to a trip with dad as her brothers walked out the door with me. Even though there is great long-term freedom in maturing to using the potty like a big girl, that freedom comes with a short term cost that is hard for a three year old to understand.
We see the cost for freedom played out in our families every day. For a 16 year old, it may be in the form of sacrificing time working a first job to pay for insurance and gas to be able to enjoy that driver's license. The cost for freedom from heavy college debt may come in the form of sacrificing years of high school study and hard work to be rewarded with freeing scholarships and grants. The cost of freedom from an abusive relationship may come with the discomfort of having to go it alone for a little while. The cost of freedom from a debilitating drug addiction may come in the form of strict treatment and restrictive rehab. The cost of freedom from the restraint of diapers and changing tables may come in the form of a week of earnest potty training, but even for a 3 year old, we know the cost for freedom is worth the effort.
As parents building our Family Forte, or strength, it is essential that we bear with the short term costs that give our children greater freedom. We understand that freedom comes with a cost no matter the size of the struggle. We see this principle in major conflicts from world history. In the great battle between the thirteen American colonies and Great Britain we learned that our Independence Day cost approximately 25,000 patriots. In WWII, the “War to End All Wars”, there were over 400,000 American soldiers lost by the end of 1945. Yet the cost of freedom isn’t felt only on major world stages. We feel it in cities in America on a daily basis. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, we’ve lost 62 police officers this year in America while on duty. In Tennessee alone, three families will struggle through the fireworks of the 4th this year as their loved ones died wearing a badge while on duty in 2019. We understand that sober truth that freedom has a price, and at this time of year we honor those who have made the greatest sacrifices for our freedom.
Our heavenly Father knew the cost better than any of us when He sent His only Son. John describes that great cost of freedom from sin this way, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son to pay for sins, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus understood the cost so well that he foreshadowed to his disciples by saying, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Our Savior knew that true freedom was worth it, and it was something we desperately needed when He shared, “If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed.” (John 8:36) Yes, freedom comes with a cost.
As I walked through the door on day two of potty training I was greeted with great news. Clara was all smiles as she came running up with arms spread wide to give me a big hug. Then she shared her proud statement of the day. “Daddy, I used the potty!” I beamed as big a smile as I could as I encouraged her saying, “I’m so proud of you Clara. What a big girl you are!” Then I encouraged my wife, who sacrificed her time, energy, and routine in this little battle of life so that our daughter can enjoy a greater freedom as she matures. Yes, we understand that freedom comes with a cost no matter the size of the struggle. We hope and pray that you will continue to fortify your family by sacrificing for your children’s physical, monetary, emotional, and spiritual freedom because their freedom is well worth the cost.
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength. Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself. If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website, www.spartacoc.com.