The perfect person does not exist. Let alone the perfect child. Yet, as a mother, I have a tendency to forget that and often impose things on my children that I do not impose on myself and, conveniently or ignorantly, bypass.
For example, I was recently waking my son up asking him to get his day started. I told him once and went into the kitchen. About 10 minutes later, I realize that he was still in bed. I told him again to get up, he opened his eyes and turned in his bed. He looked like he was finally going to get up, so I went back into the kitchen. Another 10 minutes passed and he was not up. I became annoyed, firmly told him to “Get up. Now!” and then went on to lecture him about how we should not be lazy and questioned him as to why it takes him so long to get out of bed when he should just do it the first time. As I scolded him for his laziness, it dawned on me that I do it too. The difference is that I do not have a parent waking me up, but an alarm clock. I have been trying to show my children that we should not be lazy, even drawing from scripture; when all the while, I did the same thing by repeatedly snoozing my alarm clock.
I know how I want my children to be – a God-fearing, honorable, man and woman. I strive to shape that desirable character in them. Sometimes my technique is effective. Bam! They have learned their lesson. End of story. Other times my technique is questionable, even flawed. Such as when I am being repetitive in explaining why they did something wrong, why they need to aim to be a certain way without any compassion on my part, or just simply looking to change their behavior by making them feel bad. Another example is when I have had an outburst of anger if I was not obeyed. These techniques, while it may get their attention momentarily, does not have the lasting effect I want it to have – biblical repentance and a resolve to imitate Christ. Besides, God does not work that way in correcting and disciplining His children. He does not manipulate us to feel bad. In fact, I am reminded that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
I forget that I must, above all else, model Godly behavior so that they may imitate me as I imitate Christ. If I desire my children to be more loving towards each other as well as to other people, then I have to model love in my life. I have to study love and apply love in my life. In my study, I must remember what God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that:
“4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
It is unrealistic and even hypocritical of me to seek to cultivate patience in my children, if I am not interested in cultivating patience in myself or even trying to actively model patience. The same thing applies if I am trying to eliminate rude behavior in my children, while I am rude without the desire to be like Christ. While I understand that we have not achieved a perfect state of Godly character ( and we will not achieve a perfect state of patience, love, etc., on this side of glory, but will rather grow in them), we are admonished to seek after these good things, to pursue holiness. The Word clearly says that love is manifested by being patient, kind; not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, demanding, irritable, resentful, etc. Oh what pressure! What a challenge!
Thank God that all believers have the Holy Spirit at work in them to remind, show and help cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. Thank God that we are growing in grace day by day. I am most reminded of my short-comings when I see them in my children. It is then when I know I must turn to God’s holy word and see what He has to say to me about these things. I have to go before my Lord in prayer, repent, and ask that He cultivate this Godly character in me so that I may be more effective in my children’s lives. I thank the Lord for allowing these situations to occur in which reveal my own short-comings, my sins.
As for my sleep-loving son, he still has to get up when I tell him. Though we are working on it. I still struggle with my alarm clock, but I am aiming to snooze less until the day that I get up at the first ring. Oh the joy that day will bring. In the meantime, as the kids say now-a-days, the struggle is real.
Stay encouraged, ladies. The Lord will complete the good work that He’s begun in us (Phil. 1:6). God bless you! 🙂