Recently, my coworkers and I read Matthew 25 together. I think it's the first time I've read that passage since Lorien was born, and it got me thinking about a conversation I had pre-kids. Pre-marriage, actually.
I was working at Plugged In at the time, and this discussion probably occurred on a day when I had put in about 6.5 hours slogging through a pile of Seventeen magazines or something of the sort. I don't remember precisely what brought on my ennui, but I know I was feeling really discouraged by the state of our culture. Now, I am not a Chicken Little, and I won't be making any doomsday prophecies here. I find plenty of things in this world that delight me. But I also find plenty of things that make me weary and sick. And frankly a little worried about the challenge of raising kids and helping them stay childlike for the duration of their childhood. It was that feeling that prompted me to admit to my editor, "I'm not sure I want to raise kids in this culture."
I have never forgotten his one-line reply: "Wouldn't that be like burying your talent?"
I didn't reply because I couldn't reply. I knew he was right. The admonition to invest my talent, rather than burying it, has been working on me ever since. Raising kids to thrive in this world won't be easy. But that doesn't excuse me from the responsibility.
I want to raise kids who get to keep their innocence for as long as possible. I want to raise kids who know how to think—not just what to think. I want to raise kids who aren't afraid to ask good questions and actively seek out the answers. I want to raise kids who have strong biblical moorings, but who aren't afraid to interact with others who believe differently. I want to raise kids who know God—not just ones who know about Him. I want to raise kids who love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and love their neighbors the way they love themselves.
All of this was part of the thinking behind Lorien's name. Josh and I love the way J.R.R. Tolkien described the woods of Lothlorien as a place of light in a dark world. It's a place of refuge. Rest. Beauty. Light. The rest of Middle Earth may be growing darker, but Lorien is a land that has a healing effect on all who enter it. I pray that if we invest our talents well in raising her (and, someday, her siblings) the same will be said of her also.