Every month in the mail, I get a daily devotional from the congregation I grew up with in Singapore. It’s an easy way for me to keep up with general news there, and the reflections are quick – just one A6 page, or about 4 paragraphs.

Anyhoo, today I happened to flick through today’s reading and came across such a great reflection on the kind of long-term parenting I want to work towards: a mother who works to help out with family finances and keep her own world from shrinking, while ever-mindful of the opportunities to counter the big bad world and its many silky seductions.

I’m hardly there yet, but if a thousand words can paint a picture (reverse-engineering Bread song here), then here’s a sketchy outline I want on the living room wall of my mind:

“How was your day?” the mother asked as her daughter bounded in from school. “Oh, it was a normal day I guess,” her teenage daughter replied. “For me too,” her mother replied, as the two passed in the kitchen.

What the daughter meant, of course, was that her day was mostly uneventful. She did what she did most every day without consideration of its effect. She was a kid.

She didn’t know that a “normal” day for her mum was anything but routine. Mom had two full-time jobs and their home to care for as well. Scheduling her priorities was tricky because she was very aware of her spiritual opportunities with her daughter. She helped her daughter think of ways to share food or clothing with a needy neighbor. She scheduled her work so she could be home for conversations about the influences her daughter lived with at school. As they cooked or cleaned together, she remembered to laugh and be thankful for all the blessings they had from God.

Next time you ask, “How was your day?” consider what you’re asking and listen to the answer. No day is “normal”. Each day is a gift, an amazing gift.

~ Mark R. Guy, taken from January 2013 Daily Care, compiled by the church that meets at Pasir Panjang.