What I discussed in my last post is really a call for perspective change on the personhood of your child. As I look around me, I see parents (Christian and non-Christian) treating their children like pets, accessories, and inconveniences.
Parents have forgotten that they are a gift that we unwrap more and more everyday. They are packages of grace we get to find out more about through time and effort. Sure, we may get a paper cut or have trouble untying a knot, but the gift remains a gift–of gracious sanctification. Have you ever thought about the kind of soul work God is doing in your life through the daily frustrations you have because of your kids?
Here’s a challenge: Perhaps the anger and frustration is not because of your kids. Rather it is a deep-seated way of life you have grown accustomed to that is contrary to the ways of God. God has given you your children (not your neighbors’ children, not your siblings’ children) in order to dig deep into your heart and extract that sin you did not know was there when you were single or married without children.
Not only this, but they are reminders of our need to pause and live as children in God’s wonder-filled house. When your children play in the dirt and you have to wash their clothes, be reminded of the wonder and excitement of mud. The way it gushes in between your toes. When they scream, be reminded of our need to kill our penchant to please man rather than God. To be so free in your life that you can express yourself without feeling burdened, because you always have Mommy and Daddy who love you. When they are enraptured in play, remember that God’s world is a playground. Don’t let the fallenness of our world harden you to the declarations the heavens make and handiwork that is his creation. Remember that children keep you young and free in the grace and mercy and kindness of God…if you let them.
Most things we argue about with our children are of little to no consequence. Typically, they are our attempt to commandeer worship from our children, rather than obedience to us as an expression of worship to God.
Is it really necessary that your child finish all her broccoli? Is it necessary that your child obey in the split second you have uttered your command? Delayed obedience is not always disobedience. It can be. That takes a few moments on your part to pay attention to your child and see why they are delaying response. This requires that you know your child better than a parenting method or book. My eldest daughter is a very intense little girl. When she wakes up before the sun rises to when she struggles with going to bed, she is constantly moving. She is running. She is jabbering. She is observing. She is playing hard. When she plays with her dollies, she does not pay attention to things around her. She doesn’t hear the television. She doesn’t smell the aroma of bacon and eggs. Her surroundings are non-existent while she is playing in her little world of dolls. For me to yell from another room, “Dinner’s ready.” I should not expect her to drop her dolls and run to the table every time. She is a human being. I should treat her with respect and love. That may mean I walk into her room (ten feet away from where I am standing), get on the ground at eye level, pick up a doll, and play. Taking her face in my hands, I then say, “Darling, supper is ready.” Let’s go set the table.
Sure this take A LOT more time. But is it not a little more respectful. Perhaps we can train our children, like in days gone by, that when the supper bell is rung you have five minutes to get to the table. This would help you in your time management as well. This is merely, home management. Every system and organization requires truncated ways of leading. But it requires consistency and explanation. It’s not yelling one minute and dolly playing the next.