Wednesday night, finishing up some volunteering, my energetic son letting off a little more energy than necessary. I’m trying to wrap up, my daughter is getting tired, I just want to get home.
When I can’t take the boy energy and interruption anymore, I take him by the arm, stand him at the side of a cabinet, give him “that look” and tell him to stay and be quiet.
He proceeds to throw a fit.
I (selfishly) just want him to obey. And in my second (selfish) act wonder why he won’t and then again (selfishly) think what is wrong with my parenting that he can’t be calm for 5 minutes?
I wanted the 5 minutes of calm, I wanted to go home, I was tired. But what about him? What did he need? I will confess the thought never crossed my mind until the next day.
In frustration, hurry or just plain selfishness sometimes we separate our kids from us when what they really need is for us to pull them close. (Note: There are times for removal, etc. I’m just thinking out loud that maybe it isn’t the only solution or even the one I should use most often.)
What if I pulled them close instead of pushing them away?
So over the last week I’ve been trying this theory out. What would it look like instead of reacting in “worn down mom” mode I reacted in “I love you more” mode?
- Instead of going to your room for hitting your sister, I want you to come sit next to me while I fold laundry and I want you to tell me of a time when someone hurt you. How did it feel? Do you want to do that with others?
- Instead of going outside because your inside voice seems to be missing, come to the kitchen, pick a song and let’s sing it out at the top of our lungs.
- Instead of having quiet reading time alone because you keep interrupting, let me read you a few Proverbs about listening and let’s talk about it.
Now, this hasn’t worked perfectly. In the midst of this I feel as if my method might be good but the message might be getting lost. I am trusting God on this one, that He will show my kids the gospel in these moments.
In my own life I have been reading and exploring the idea of discipleship. I came across these verses:
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30
How will my children, who are in God’s graces, come to me, learn from me and find rest if I don’t pull them close, in gentleness, to me? I have been touched to tears at this one thing that God is showing me this week. I am ready to pull in, instead of push away.