I was humbled last night. I don’t know whether to make this post a family post because it had to do with my relationship with my kids or to make it about our individual spiritual lives because it taught me about my relationship with God. I’ll just tell you the story and let you draw your own conclusions.
Yesterday was a red-letter day for one of my boys. He was on a tear. He couldn’t keep his hands to himself. He couldn’t calm down. He wouldn’t listen when people asked him to stop. He lied. He annoyed. He caused trouble. He was disrespectful. He smarted off. You know what I’m talking about. He was acting like a 9-year-old boy (imagine that). It was like he was intent on seeking all the negative attention he could get. Poor kid, yesterday he was spanked, sent to his room, had to run around the house 5 times, had to stand in the middle of the room and get all his crying and yelling out, sat down on the couch to be still, lectured. He’s probably going to end up on Dr. Phil because of yesterday.
Finally, last night right before bed, I was talking to him for about the 10th time yesterday that when people ask him to stop, he needs to listen. He may think what he is doing is fun, but they are trying to let him know that it isn’t fun for them. We talked about how if he valued the relationships more than whatever the action was, he needed to stop the action and promote the relationship. We talked about respecting boundaries. We talked about putting a pause button between what he thought and what he said or did. We talked about pushing that pause button and realizing that if he went on with the action, in a few minutes I was going to be asking him, “Son, why did you do that?” If his only response is going to be, “I don’t know,” then he shouldn’t do it. We talked about alternative ways to express his feelings than bugging and annoying his siblings. We talked about how he could come talk to me or his mom about what he is feeling instead of expressing them in annoying ways to get on his siblings nerves and demand their attention.
I have to admit it. I was exhausted. I was tired of this. I was at my wit’s end. I’m thankful that I didn’t blow up. That shows God has been working on me. My son and I just talked. We didn’t yell. That was good. But, I was so frustrated. I said, “Son, why do I have to keep having this conversation with you? I’m just so tired of having this conversation with you.” I brought in some Bible passages from the Proverbs that we have been studying in our family study time lately. I tried to get him to look to the future and see that with each action he is choosing either a course to folly or to wisdom and that I was trying to help him grow up to be the wise man I knew he could be. I pulled out the big parenting proverbs about listening to a father’s instruction. I must have asked him 20 times in the space of five minutes, “Son, how many times am I going to have to have this conversation with you? I’m just so tired of having this same conversation.”
We wrapped up our talk. I hugged him, kissed him, told him I loved him, prayed with him, and then I sent him to bed.
Frustrated and shaking my head, I pulled out the book I started reading earlier, Boundaries with Kids, by Cloud and Townsend.* That’s when I read:
Finally, if you are overwhelmed with the task of teaching a young person…be comforted. God is also a parent and for many years has gone through the same pains you are experiencing.
I almost started crying. As if watching a film, images of sins that I have committed over and over and over and over again flitted through my mind’s eye. And as if listening to my iPod, I heard my own words coming back at me, “Son, how many times am I going to have to have this conversation with you? I’m just so tired of having this same conversation.” And I knew, God could say that same thing to me. How many times could He have said that to me? How many times will He be able to say that to me in my life?
Yet, He hasn’t. Instead, He is patient with me, not wishing that I would perish (II Peter 3:9). He has given me His Word so I could grow. He has given me other people to help me grow. He has given me His Spirit so I can be sanctified. He sent His Son to take the punishment for my sins, to be sacrificed, to die so I don’t have to, so I can be free from all these things I keep doing.
I just cried and prayed.
I wish I had a nice wrap up on this package, to be able to put the bow on top and send you away with words of wisdom. But I don’t. I just needed to share the story. I’m still not even sure what all lessons I should learn from this. It’s just a reminder that I’m writing this blog because of what I’m learning, not because of what I already have figured out.
I feel odd trying to end this with a question and an opportunity for you to respond as I’ve been trying to do with my posts lately. But if you want to respond or if you have a similar experience to share, click here to add your input.
*Yes, this post proves how mercenary I am. That is an affiliate link for the book that gave me this amazing epiphany. I’m looking forward to reading it. If you want to check it out, here’s another link for you.