My son drives me crazy. Maybe it’s because he’s 3. Or because he is male and we are wired differently. I’m not too sure. Some days he runs non-stop from one thing to the next doing all of things he knows he isn’t supposed to do. Can someone please explain the appeal of running across a room to throw oneself head first into a love seat? No? OK, how about explaining the irresistability of repeatedly opening doors and drawers just to slam them shut? Sometimes I wonder if this child is a Heaven-sent gift to challenge my sanity.
The last couple of months trying to parent my son have been challenging. It’s hard to “embrace” these days when I wake at 6:00 to, “Mommy, want some peanut butter in my mouth!” and the demands keep coming all. day. long. And I understand that he is in the process of learning how to verbalize his emotions, but must he default to crying to express frustration/confusion/annoyance/pain/hunger/sleepiness?
These are the times that drive me to tears in the shower and on my knees in prayer.
See, this is where God steps in with his unique sense of humor and gentle correction. Instead of showing me how to deal with my son’s behavior, He simply holds up a mirror. I can feel it reverberating through my soul: Do you not run from one thing to the next doing what you aren’t supposed to do? I don’t get frustrated with you, so why are you getting frustrated with him? Who is the one in charge here?
The questions stop me in my tracks. I thought I was praying for guidance on how to deal with my son’s obnoxiousness but instead I am shown my own faults and flaws. So I try again. Perhaps there is some mistake, Lord, I was asking you how to cope with my son’s disobedience. And the mirror is lifted again: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your [son]’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
Ah ha. Maybe my son drives me crazy because he reflects my own disobedience.
I once again find myself living out Paul’s words to the Romans in verse 15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” My prayers shift gears. I see, Lord. I set the standard. How can I expect him to be obedient to me when I am so rebellious toward you? The answer comes with such clarity that even a fool like me can see it: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them… not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:2-3) My son reflects the example I have been for him. I have shown anger, impatience and frustration. I have not been training him up the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). Instead I have been reacting out of my own negative emotions and disobedience.
There is an amazing amount of accountability and responsibility in parenting. It can be a daunting task. But first and foremost, I have to work on my walk with Christ. As I allow Him to work in me, I become the example I want my kids to follow.
Because what I do speaks so much louder than what I say.
Abide in His Grace,