We’ve all been there and seen it happen. You are in a store and suddenly an ear piercing shriek disrupts your peaceful shopping trip. Then voices start and they get louder and louder until you are not sure if this is happening between two adults or a child and an adult. In your mind you think, “Phew. Glad that is not MY child.” Suddenly, you feel like the best parent in the world. Then one day, “pop”, there goes our pride when our child does the same thing to us.
A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I took the four kiddos to the Children’s Museum. Now granted, it was Spring break and maybe not the best move on my part. There were ALOT of people there. Not as many as on the Target free nights (talk about CRAZY busy). There were just enough people that when we left I was waiting for the museum to crown me with “The Mother of the Year” award. Let me explain.
First, some clarification. My kids are NOT saints. Far from it. They have had their share of melt downs and demonstrations of unkindness to others out in public – that could fill a book. However, the older they become the less of those we have. In fact haven’t had one for awhile (I gasp as I post this because I can so feel that I just shot myself in the foot with that statement). But the difference is how we handle their behavior and our consistency in correcting their behavior.
While eating lunch, I saw a 200 pound man and his wife be overtaken by the will of a three year old. Down the three year old ran towards the door of the cafeteria giggling and glancing behind him to make sure his dad was running after him. The more dad and mom called his name the faster he ran. It took the dad about 5 minutes to get him. Mind you it was obvious that the dad worked out…at least physically. Yet, who was stronger? Score to the three year old boy in corner number 1.
Meanwhile, there was a group of about 12 autistic children (it was indicated by the shirts they wore) and their teachers eating lunch. Best behaved kids in the cafeteria. One of them accidentally bumped into a tween girl going to her seat. The tween looked at the boy with thorough disgust. Who was stronger?
Another 3 year old threw an outright temper tantrum because he didn’t get to do his frozen yogurt first. Grandma went ahead a got him one, coddling him the whole time. His mom said nothing. Who was stronger?
Then there was T.J. Maxx the other day, I was in line with my boys and a mom and her VERY whiny 4 year old was behind us. She wanted her mom to cut me in line, put everything she wanted in the cart, and then she begged for some gummies telling her mom she didn’t want “those boys” to get them. Believe me it was tempting to let “those boys” (mine) grab them out of spite. The whole time her mom kept telling her “Ok, for your birthday” instead of turning the little girls whining into a teaching moment. (ummm – pretty sure her mom was lying to her) Who was stronger? (BTW – she got the gummies).
This seems to be the path that a lot parents take – letting the child reign in the behavior of the parent instead of the other way around. The Bible says in
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The word “train” is an interesting word. It means to “coach” or “to teach a particular skill or behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time”. In other words, we are our children’s teachers and coaches. We teach and train them everyday and point them in the direction we want them to go. This is most vividly done through our example.
I am amazed at how many times physical activities are used in the Bible to demonstrate a point and this is another one of them. Training for any sporting event is a daily process. Some days are good training days and others not so much. As I am training for a 1/2 marathon the first week of May, I have to do some sort of physical activity nearly everyday and it’s not running everyday either. Some days I lift weights and do core strengthening exercises, others I do the elliptical, and others I do cross training. I only actually run 3-4 times a week. It takes a variety of exercises to help me reach my goal.
It is the same way in parenting. It is a daily task. We can’t skip a day or disaster will occur. Some days are easy and some days are down right, stinkin’ hard. Those are the days that you (I) just want to throw in the towel and quite. But those are the days we have to push through the pain and the tempers and the meltdowns and realize that there is a higher goal that we are striving to reach with our children. Many parents quite before they even start. Is it no wonder then that the 4 year old whined for her gummies, the 3 year old threw a screaming temper tantrum, the other three year old ousted his dad, and the tween thought she was way better than the well behaved autistic boy?
Those incidents didn’t make me judgmental but rather they caused me to stop and ponder, “How am I doing in my training? How strong am I, really?” Next week I am going to share some things that I do with my children and some things that other moms do with their children in the training process.
In the meantime, how is your training going? How strong are you?
Until next Monday,