January 2 -3, 2012
Okay so we decided to focus on discipleship. What does that look like? How does one go about discipling a child?
Today started like any other Monday in our home. We all slept in and now we were behind schedule. Babies needed changed. Everyone needed dressed. Breakfast needed made. Rooms needed to be cleaned. Teeth brushed. Chores needed to be completed. Things were running along at a good pace then IT happened. I walked into the bathroom, followed closely by the five year old (I suspect he knew what was happening and wanted to see how I would react), to throw something in the trash only to find my two youngest squeezing shampoo all over the floor. NNNOOOO!!! I don’t have time for this. We have a schedule to catch. Time froze. All eyes were on Mommy. Here was my first test. It didn’t take long for God to try my new resolve. I felt like screaming. I felt like grabbing my daughter by the arm, giving her swift swat across the backside and sending everyone to their rooms for a time-out. What did I do?
I knelt down to her level, took a deep breath, removed the shampoo bottle from her hands, and gave her the roll of paper towels to clean up the mess. We talked about why it was not okay to squirt shampoo on the floor. Together we cleaned the bathroom but there was still the issue of correction. What to do? Mom’s solution? Darling daughter now had to do one extra chore (that Mommy would have normally done). Since I had to spend time cleaning up her mess, she had to spend time cleaning up someone else’s. Today that meant cleaning the small kids table in the kitchen that was covered in something. I’m not sure she quite got the lesson but it was certainly better than me losing my temper and lashing out.
Phew! Passed that test. This isn’t going to be as hard as I thought. No wait, now its Tuesday.
All day Tuesday my son was begging to light one of the scented candles I received as a gift for Christmas. Nothing new here, he always wants to light the candles. After much ado I agreed to light it after the girls went down for naps so that we could have ambience during school work. That is when mesmerizing effects of small flames took over. Somehow we managed to make it through the “school” day without much trouble. The occasional interruption of “Mom, can I blow out the candle?” followed by “No, don’t touch it.” was easily forgiven. It was after all a burning flame just begging to be blown out. I could almost hear it calling to my poor little boy.
School day over, time to get the girls up from their naps. So far so good. I needed to make some phone calls. Normally I would have just picked up the phone and started dialing but this is the new me. I gathered my children together, explained that Mommy had some phone calls to make, they could play together in the living room and I would be in the kitchen if they needed me. There, now I could make my calls in peace and quiet while my little ones played joyously together in the adjacent room. Wrong! Every couple of minutes my son found a new reason to need me. After 10 minutes I excused myself from the call I was on (thankfully I was talking to my Dad), placed the children on separate chairs and asked them to sit quietly while I finished my conversation, which they did. Score one for the new me. I had one more call to make so I asked for five more minutes. That is when the forgotten candle made a cry for attention. While I was finishing up my call my children were busy pouring molten wax into a bowl. Proud of their accomplishment I was presented with a gift. My response? I screamed, very loudly - AAARRGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!! I grabbed my child by the arm, gave a swift swat across the backside and put everyone in time-out. Shortly followed by a long lecture about how rude they were, how devious they were, and how disappointed I was. This was followed by some frustrated railing at God for not at least giving me one week of successful discipleship. Then my son said it, “But Mom you said I could blow it out.”, “When?”, “When you were on the phone.” There it was! I was so busy doing my thing I failed to pay attention to my children’s things.
Thankfully my children have forgiven and so has my Father. Lesson learned? My children are not the problem (they’re just being children), I am!
“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”