Fish are friends, not food.
*The following is a rehash & expansion of an article that will appear in the Murphy Messenger this week.*
Parenting … it’s always an adventure, isn’t it?
The newest development in our household is that my oldest two daughters now have little aquariums. They were so excited to come home and get them set up with the little rocks and the treasure chest and the fake plants. Then came the fish.
We’ve had dogs. We’ve had cats. Hamsters were requested, but fish I was not expecting.
I think pets are good for kids; they facilitate learning. If you have a dog in the backyard, they’ve learned that in life you don’t have to step in it to know that it smells.
Dogs taught our kids the responsibility of ensuring there was always something to eat & drink—just like God always provides for His own.
From cats they learned that affections are not always returned or appreciated, just as we often shun time with our Heavenly Father.
But what about fish? What can they learn from fish? I found out.
“One of my fish ate pepper!”
My puzzled look prompted the teary-eyed Sarah to say, “One of my fish ate my other fish.” Oh … I see.
(Apparently, Pepper is a fish, not a seasoning)
This was on the heels of a call I received on the way home. I needed to pick up a fish net. One of Rachel’s fishes had died and needed to be sent to a watery grave.
My daughters are 8 and 6 and they weren’t happy that death had reared its ugly head in their aquariums. But having fish has taught them that death is part of life and that life is fleeting.
The reality of death is harsh, especially when death overtakes a loved one. Our kids have not experienced the death of a family member, though we dealt with the loss of one of Sarah's best friends earlier in the year.
Death, even of fish, is a reminder of just how fleeting life is.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.If you’ve had kids you know how easy it is to blink and miss so much. You have babies that yesterday learned to walk and now are in school. Tomorrow they’ll want to marry someone unworthy of them.
-James 4:14, ESV
Our beloved friends and family are worth far more than fish. You can’t just spend another few dollars and replace them.
It's cliche perhaps, but God brings people in our lives for a season and then they are gone. Appreciate them as gifts from God (James 1:17; Ps 127:3; Prov 19:14) and allocate your time accordingly.
Prioritize the people in your life, especially if you have young children. One day they're pestering you to tell you about their toy or show you their newest trick and then the next they're going to be wanting to play with friends or talking to them on the phone.
One day you're their great source of wisdom and then the next you're gonna be out of touch with reality and a moron of the highest order.
I thank God for my kiddos and hope to minimize the regret of not enjoying and appreciating their younger years. It's never too late to try to renew the relationships, but I hope we all have minimal catch-up to pursue.