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If you have been a parent for any length of time, you have probably realized that disobedience is simply a part of life. Is it only our children who disobey? What about us? I know I am far from perfect, and this is such an important perspective to keep in mind in my life as a mom.
I often have to remind myself of the way God treats me. He is patient when I don’t listen, understanding when I do wrong, and forgiving even when I don’t ask for it. I try to recall, as often as I can, this truth in dealing with my children. To put it another way, I often have to remind myself that it is only when I am perfect that I can expect perfection from my kids. I’m still waiting for that to occur!
Take for instance these examples:
- When a child leaves their things all over in the common living areas rather than putting them at least in their room
- When a child misplaces something, even something important (did I mention that right now I am having trouble locating my child’s gift card that I tucked away for safekeeping?)
- When a child uses sarcasm to prove a point or to communicate something (this comes right from my mouth)
- When a child raises their voice in response to someone else
- When a child talks rather than listens
- When a child complains
These are only a few of the many infractions that happen on a daily basis around here. All of the things I mentioned are learned directly from the person who I see in the mirror every time I look in it. I read somewhere that children are the best mirror we could ever have. This.Is.Truth. Not truth that I particularly like, but truth nonetheless.
Whoever originally recommended the technique of counting to 10 (or whatever number) when anger strikes must have been someone kind of like me. I have a reactive personality, not explosive, but I am quick on the draw, and I am quite accurate in my assessment of the situation, but accurate doesn’t always mean correct. Actually, quite often my first reaction in any situation is one that I later regret. It does me well to count to 10 (or sometimes 100 or more) when emotions make my blood pressure rise.
Gracious living means not only remembering that our children are sinful human beings as a result of the fall, but also that our children are a reflection of us. It is so painful to me when I see one of my kids repeat word.for.word something that I have said that is, shall we say, less than beautiful. But it is in moments like these that I call upon God’s grace—-His grace to forgive, His patience to wait until we perhaps do it right the next time.
One of the most amazing gifts I find in living with a large family that is made up of kids at all different ages is that I can see an ugly seed that I have planted in my older kids and intentionally not plant that same seed in one of my littles. Of course we can do our best to unearth that seed in the olders, which does work most of the time, but I am much more thoughtful, keeping the end in mind when it come to the seeds I plant in the littles who live here.
God’s love covers all sins, all the mis-planted seeds, all the unkind words, and all the less-than-gracious living. Certainly can’t my love do the same?
Won’t you join me in seeing who we are in the mirror and choosing to be the kind of parent He is? Let’s extend some added patience, understanding, and forgiveness in our lives and in the lives of our children today.
Of course disobedience will still be a part of life, but it is something that we can choose to deal with in an understanding way.