Sunday, January 10, 2016

Though She Be But Little . . .

Image courtesy of

"Top Ten Tips for bringing out the best in a strong-willed child"

"The tools you need to successfully manage your child’s behavior"

"Time-proven methods for dealing with misbehavior"

These are just a sampling of the promises made by books for parents raising a strong-willed child.  Twenty-some years ago, we read them all - and laughed.  These people did not have a clue what "strong-willed" meant.  We were raising a daughter that took "power struggles" to a level these authors couldn't conceive.  

I don't mean to give you a picture of a demon-child with glowing eyes and her head spinning around backwards.  She was (and still is) a beautiful girl who was loving, compassionate and just plain adorable.  But when she made up her mind to do (or not do) something, her will became an impenetrable wall, and I spent hours, days, weeks pounding my head against that wall.  

In spite of our frustration, we understood that her strength and determination were part of how God created her; and since He does not do things randomly, He had a reason beyond what we could see.  About age 17, she began to mature into her iron will, and emerged from college as a woman who can focus that resolve.  Along the way, I learned to avoid the self-inflicted headaches and marvel at the things she can accomplish.

Amanda now works for a treatment foster care agency.  Her clients are the children who have been so severely abused and neglected that they require therapy and more specialized care than standard foster care can provide.  There are no words for the level of depravity and torture these little ones have endured.  Advocating for these children is a stressful and painful job, and I fear for the physical and mental effects it has on Amanda, but I also stand in awe.  

Amanda called a few weeks ago to tell us that she had been offered a promotion.   Her boss praised her as "a natural" at this job - for not being afraid to stand up and have a voice.  And there it was - the reason God created our strong-willed child. The "impenetrable wall" that wore me out now stands between innocent children and the people who have irrevocably harmed them.  It stands against a system that is so overloaded that what is best for the children often gets drown out by what is expedient.

Would I prefer that she had a different career?  Yes and no.  Of course I would prefer that my beautiful, petite girl have days filled with sunshine and butterflies - that she never even know that this evil exists.  But I wouldn't deny the strong, determined woman the chance to use the compassion and fire that God placed in her.

"Though she be but little, she is fierce" 
- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


  1. We had the same battles with our daughter. And had to keep reminding ourselves of the same thing - this will serve her well when she is older if she can learn to use it for good. Kudos to Amanda for doing such difficult work and may God continue to give her the strength to handle all that she has to see every day.

  2. Your pride in your daughter shines through in this post... and justifiably so. "Ya done good," in raising her!

  3. So proud of our Amanda. One person can and is making a difference to these children. I still smile when I picture the little blonde girl in the midst of a tantrum ... As was commented above it has served her well...Gods plans are the best!!

  4. I can only imagine some of the nightmares that your daughter sees. My husband and I are foster parents. We've had seventeen children, and are hoping to adopt the two we have now. God bless your daughter and give her the strength to continue her job. We need more people like her.

    1. Bless you for the work you do, Katie. You must have a generous heart to open your home to so many children.