On the Italian Riviera
  It was a deliciously scorching afternoon on the Italian Riviera. Surrounded by mountains, vibrant turquoise sea before us, the bright sun infiltrated my imagination, evoking a mirage. My eyes squinted at the serene scene before me. It almost seemed that I was seeing a mermaid. Her long, golden, sun-streaked hair caressed the curves of the crystal waves as she swam daintily. It was actually an ironic illusion. As peaceful as my daughter appeared in this picturesque paradise, Rachèle's attitude that morning had been quite the opposite. No onlooker could have imagined the struggle she was experiencing as her ten-year-old mind was exploring pre-teen independence.

 Gleefully bopping in the waves next to her, his bronzed skin blending with the distant brown rocks, was her vivacious five-year-old brother, Francesco. The jingle of splashing waves mingled with the children's giggles, making melody. As the children interacted playfully, who would have thought that only a few hours before, I was wearily umpiring their fight for the umpteenth time that morning? Here in Postcardland, the I-hate-my-sister-negative-syndrome had melted and rolled away with the tide. My husband, Louis, sat reading beside me, and all seemed so perfect.

 But this harmonious haven contrasted, and even contradicted my melancholy. I was wondering why every morning had to begin with a battlefield. Why did my children always have to fight in spite of prayer and times in God's Word together? Parenting seemed so difficult at times. And why did all those endless "how to" methods on Christian child-training leave me so frustrated? I glanced again at my children, paradoxically playing peacefully, and sighed, "Heaven help me raise these children!" This was the sincere cry of my worn-out mother's heart. And the truth of this double-meaning cliché is that actually only heaven, or rather God, can help us raise our children for Christ.

 Suddenly, my pondering was interrupted by some pretty pebbles that perkily plopped themselves on the sand in front of me.

 "Look, Mama! I found some VERY treasure!" Francesco piped up enthusiastically.

  "Lovely son!"

 "That's so cute!” my husband whispered in my ear. "He thinks BURIED treasure means VERY treasure!"

 "I know," I responded. "I was teaching the children the parable of the buried treasure in Matthew thirteen, and ever since, he's called it VERY treasure. I never corrected him because I think it's so cute!"

 "And here's some more, Mama!” our son interjected.

 Putting the different colored stones into three piles on my towel, he pointed to each one, explaining,

 "Now here's the treasure; these ones are the VERY treasure, and those are the VERY, VERY treasure!"

 My jaw bulged trying to retain my laughter. We did not dare to offend this serious little treasure hunter by chuckling. But with concealed amusement, my whole spirit felt lighter. Life somehow seemed simpler, and the value of my own little treasures more apparent. I felt as rich as royalty.

      "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter But the glory of kings is to search out a matter" (Proverbs 25:2).

      Parents are like kings and queens reigning over their household. Little kings, under the Great King!. . .

      Read more stories like this one—and how they highlight what the Bible teaches on parenting—in Janey DeMeo’s book, Heaven Help Me Raise These Children! Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues.