Carry the Load: Teaching our children about their father’s Large B Cell Lymphoma Diagnosis
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On Feb. 20, 2019, we found out what had been plaguing my husband for the last few months.
It was now time to share the news with our four children. I know sharing “the c-word” with young children isn’t easy, and oftentimes, families are unsure if they should share such heavy information with wee little ones.
Here is why and how we shared with our children through simply teaching them about how to “carry the load” throughout my husband’s Large B Cell Lymphoma Treatment (a sub-type of Non-Hodgkin’s’ Lymphoma).
What is the role of a husband and father?
The bible mentions father 998 times and husband 120 times (and just for fun, wife is mentioned 397 times).
*Side note: Blue Letter Bible is a great bible study tool to help you dig deeper into God’s word that is available for your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- Husbands are to love their wives-like Christ loved the church with a sacrificial love and not be harsh with them. Col 3:19 and Eph 5:25
- Provide for his family and head of the household. 1 Tim 5:8 and 1 cor 11:3
- Love his wife as himself. Eph 5:33
- Imitator of God that walks in love. Eph 5:1
- Instruct, teach and discipline his children. Pro 22:6; Deut 6:5-9; 1 Tim 4:10-11
Reasons to be transparent as a father
My husband has dutifully performed his role with love, compassion and a teachable spirit. Together we have created an environment of love, security and understanding. Our children understand that our counsel is wise and respect sound discipline.
Our children look to us for comfort and security not fear or judgement.
Our instruction errs on the side of grace and mercy.
It is our duty to love and share truth with them. Even if the truth isn’t pleasant because life isn’t always going to give them roses and sunshine. Life is difficult to navigate and throws you a curve ball.
As parents we are to train them up. Training them up includes preparing their hearts for the hard times.
Additionally, children are much more aware and observant than they get credit for therefore we would be doing a disservice by NOT trusting them with the knowledge of their father’s diagnosis. However, it does not warrant us to paint a picture of gloom and doom.
It gives us an opportunity to share the gospel! Hallelujah!
We are able to share that this is all part of HIS plan [Rom 8:28]. To surrender our lives to HIM. To trust HIM. Our children see our faith in action as we practice it through this dark valley. As the Lord lights the path at our feet our children will be intently watching as we navigate these new circumstances – failures, successes, despair, and joy.
What a blessing! Yes, I said blessing, because it is an opportunity to share Christ with our children at a delicate phase in their lives that will train them up in the truth.
How we conveyed the truth to children
Our marriage and family has been built on a rock [Matt 7:25]. A cornerstone of faith and trust. We shared the bare bones.
“Daddy is sick. He needs medicine that will take a long time to take and will probably make things worse before it gets better.”
They listened attentively and understood better than we did.
The first task was to gather wood as we normally do in these upstate NY winters.
As we approached the wood, my oldest daughter asked why Daddy didn’t join us.
I held up a piece of our firewood and explained that Daddy could no longer carry a load over 10 lbs. I asked her if she would be willing to carry his load.
She looked right into my eyes and held out her arms. “Mom is that piece of wood ten lbs?”
She looked right into my eyes and held out her arms. “Mom is that piece of wood ten lbs?”Knitting Our Story
In weather below freezing she went out again and again gathering firewood asking “is this ten lbs?”
How my heart and eyes filled with awe! In the Bible, Jesus says in Luke 18:17, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” She demonstrated faith and understanding beyond our reasoning and with JOY!
Sharing is Caring
We trust, obey and love our heavenly Father.
We trust His plan through this new circumstance of cancer.
We instruct our children through sharing truth, even hard truths, because it is our job to teach them. To train them up.