“We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” Could have fooled me I thought. That verse flowed through my thoughts as my husband wrestled with our screaming, writhing toddler. It was bed time and she needed to put her toys away so we could do our family devotions. I asked her several times to put her Trios away and each time the response was “No, I’m playing with them.” Now I should have dealt with the problem right then and there but I decided to give her one more chance. I told her that if she did not put them away Mommy was going to take them from her. Again I was met with “No.” Now was the time for action! Okay, the time for action was after her very first refusal but I cling to idea that eventual obedience is better than no obedience so I give second warnings, third, fourth…. You get the idea. So I took the Trios away from her and put them in their case. This was not good enough though for she was hot on my heels to retrieve her objects of desire. The situation ended with me putting the whole box in the bathroom and my husband fetching ‘The Board of Education’.
My husband took our toddler for her lesson in obedience and I took the other children to another room. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am a very stubborn woman. My husband, only a little less so. And our daughter has inherited both stubborn genes from dear old Mom and Pop so you can imagine what her lesson looked and sounded like. (Side note: this daughter is also our most helpful too – I wonder if they are two sides of the same coin). After what seemed like an hour, though I’m sure it was only 5 minutes, we were all reassembled and singing praises to our Lord.
Teaching our children to graciously submit to our authority has to be the most challenging exercise any parent can go through but it is so very important. For if they cannot obey us, their earthly parents, who deliver very real, very tangible consequences; how will they ever obey their heavenly Father whose consequences are not so real or tangible?
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” – Proverbs 29:15
I used to read this verse as though the child was embarrassing his mother. We’ve all had those moments when our child does something that makes us want to pretend they don’t belong to us. But I know see the shame and embarrassment the mother feels is of her own creating. We know those moms too. The ones whose child is making a scene and you’re thinking “she ought to just spank that child”.
So shame on me for letting it get to the point that Daddy had to deal with it.
SUBMISS'IVE, a. Yielding to the will or power of another; obedient.
1. Humble; acknowledging one's inferiority; testifying one's submission.