Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The other person being trained, here, is ME. I can now look at my piece of paper with MY chores on it and know what I need to accomplish today (and today only!) so that by the end of the week generally everything has been given the once-over. I am a quasi-perfectionist which means that if i don't think i can do it perfectly, I won't bother to do it (what's the point!). Having a week long plan helps me through the hurdle in my mind, allowing me to just be diligent in today's work knowing that the rest will take care of itself.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Since that conversation I have been thinking a lot about the journey that I have been on with that child. There is a mound of history. I have so many unpleasant memories of times when he threw flaming, torrential fits. I remember the time I let him sleep in my bed one time and after that he got up multiple times every night for more than two months claiming to be scared and asking to sleep in my bed. I vowed never make that mistake again. I remember the times - the many, many times - he got so angry that he was not getting his way that he screamed angrily for more than an hour on his bed. So many memories and I just can't help but remember...
Really and truly, he is not a "bad kid" by any stretch, but lets just say that when ANY of my children are causing trouble, it is this child's name that is on the tip of my tongue. Its a force of habit, I tell you. It is unfortunate but true that the rocky history impacts nearly every interaction between the two of us. Often, either my dukes are up and ready for a fight, or I tip-toe away from potential conflict. Either way, I distance myself from him. I have forgiven but not forgotten his stubbornness, his angry fits, his manipulation.
The verses from Ephesians 6 make sense to me: "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise: that it may go well for you, and that you will enjoy a long life on the earth." (emphasis mine)
The reality of life is that when you make poor choices, when you are difficult to get along with, when you allow your passions to rule you, there are quiet consequences. A quiet consequence here appears to be the distance between us and my frequent assumption that he is at fault. Stay with me please because I have yet to articulate what is on my heart this evening.
I go back to the recent conversation I had with this mother, and how it convicted me. In that conversation I encouraged this mom to attempt to really understand her difficult child. "Crouch down and try to see the world from his perspective," I said. "Sometimes what looks like disobedience is actually frustration due to the child's inability to fully communicate. Sometimes he is not mad that he can't have what he wants but instead he is merely angry because he never did get you to understand what it really was that he wanted." To be understood is a deep and pressing need. To meet (or attempt to meet) that need is a great gift we can give our children (or our spouse!).
Now my child has moved past the intense preschool years and can communicate better, can cope with life more effectively, and has tools to play better in that sandbox. I am so thankful that those years are in the past. But my memory pulls us back there. Our interactions continue to be colored.
How long is His memory? What does He ask of me? As a mature Christian parent I believe he asks me to put on the fruits of the spirit, especially when I conjure up the memories. I believe he asks me to offer up compassion. I believe He asks me to confess the memories I refuse to release. He asks me to renew my mind. Think differently about this child. Speak differently about and to this child. God's mercies are new every morning. EVERY MORNING.
His divine power has given us everything. Everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him... (2 Peter 1:3).
Last night my little guy woke up scared. Was he? Who knows. My flesh wanted to march him back to bed and get back to bed myself. But the Lord spoke very clearly to me and so I listened. I willingly "forgot" the memories and smiled at my boy, "Hi sweetie. You are scared? Come here." And we hugged. I lost a little more than an hour's sleep last night, but I met my boy's need to be understood with compassion. There is no amount of sleep that could replace that.
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Well," I reply, "Because there is a very big question that people, especially those who do not yet beieve in God, want to know. That questions is, 'if God is good then why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?'"
With a look of perplexity he answered, "That shouldn't be such a big book. All it needs is one page in it that says, 'Because sin got into the world.'"
"Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands upon them. (Mark 10:14-16 NASB)
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sobbing, he replies, "Yeah!!!"
I pick him up and hug him. It's hard being two. All you want to do is stand two inches in front of the TV so no one else can see it. But nobody likes that. When my comfort to him was not followed by me carrying him back downstairs to "fix" the problem, he said (still crying): "You come downstaiws an' cause twubble WIFF ME! You cause twubble WIFF ME!!"
Such a funny little nut.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I decided to teach from a children's bible study book, written by Kay Arthur called How to Study the Bible for Yourself: For Kids. Last week I was a detective, noticing as many things about the classroom and surroundings as I could so i could make a good guess as to what was going on at this place we were all at. Of course we all knew it was church, but I noted to the kids that if i only noticed SOME of the clues out there, I very likely could have gotten it wrong. Afterall, we worship in a school and we were meeting in the teacher's lounge. We went through all sorts of "bad guesses" I could have made if I had not bothered to notice the clues available.
I taught them (in a fun way, I might add) the three words: Observation, Interpretation, and Application. I can't wait to see if the kids remember the hand guestures we learned from last week. This week I will essentially redefine "detective's clues," calling them CONTEXT. You know, the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions. And the study actually has the kids opening their Bible to Titus (a nice and short book!) to attempt to answer these questions. I have some tricks up my sleeve and I can't wait!
A report after last week's class: I had a great time teaching those 12 boys and 5 girls (what's with that ratio?!). I came out of the class soaring. I just LOVED it. I just have to add at this point that after the class was over my good friend Tiffany asked how it went. Her daughter (one of the five girls in the class) was right there so I turned to her and said, "I don't know, how do YOU think it went, Ainsley?" Now if you know anything about her, you know she does not mince words so I was taken aback when her response to her mom was, "It was good. She did a really good job." Never in my life have I received such high praise as a glowing compliment from Miss Pate. Thanks for making my week, girl!