Today my oldest child, Ryan, turns 9 years old. It also happens to be his last day of the 3rd grade, and he’s suffered through another entire year of being the youngest kid in his grade. Every year it’s the same thing, “You’re only turning 9? I turn 10 next month!” He’s always a year behind everyone, but if you know Ryan at all; you’d know that he’s not that far behind in many other areas.
Ryan Cliff – A 3rd Grade Self-Portrait
Here is a list of things I’m learning from my 9 year old:
- He’s gifted to absorb and feel. He hears things going on that many of us don’t. We jokingly call him our “emotional sponge” but that really isn’t such a bad thing now, is it?
- He’s always been the most thoughtful of kids. He will go out of his way to encourage someone, and many times we find out about what he’s done days and weeks later. I think he gets much of this from his entire family, but he’s a great representative of the Cliff Family home when he’s not in it. I never worry about him NOT saying thank you or failing to apologize when it’s called for.
- He’s not boastful, which makes him different immediately from many of his 9 and 10 year old peers. He’s not secretive about what he’s good at, he’s just concerned that what comes easy to him will alienate those that aren’t good at the same things.
- He listens first, and speaks second. I’m learning that this is oftentimes the best way to react and live.
- He’s creative. Don’t believe me? Well, you should see the things he makes out of our trash. There are very few pieces of paper that haven’t been cut, folded, and painted into some sort of magical object (or weapon.)
- He learns. I know everyone says that their kid ask tons of questions, and Ryan definitely does ask questions. However, he doesn’t ask to be cute or to prolong conversations anymore. He ask questions to learn. He’s always learning, evaluating, and preparing for something new and different.
I’m a proud parent of the qualities I see in my now 9 year old, and the thought that at 9 years old we’ve reached the 1/2 way point of his time under my roof is jarring. However, I’ve never been more excited for the future of my oldest kid than I am today. He’s well on his way to knowing Jesus in new and profound ways, and I’m glad that we still have the rest of our lives to watch him grow into the man of God that I’ve always prayed he would become.
Happy Birthday Ryan!