Today, I had an altercation with my eight-year old son that is becoming all too regular. He has a phone, which I supervise through Google’s Family Link, and the phone is locked in the mornings so he can focus on getting ready for school.
Well, this morning, he was in the mindset of celebrating Children’s Day at school and expected to enjoy some liberties at home too. So, he asked to use his phone, even though he hadn’t finished preparing for school. Giving him a quick look, he was dressed in casuals, as the school requested, I too felt a little lax and shrugged.
So, off he went to get his phone. But alas, it was still on timer and locked, so he asked me to help him unlock it. Unfortunately for him, I’d seen that he’d left his cereal milk unfinished, something I’ve told him about repeatedly. On the basis of this disobedience and waste, I said he would have to wait till he returned from school, as usual, before he could play with his phone.
That’s how the tantrum started.
Immediately, he got emotional, begging with a raised voice, promised it won’t happen again… But it was too late in my book. Plus, I was trying to listen to something and asked him to be quiet. Instead, he turned up the volume and the dramatic display of emotions. Next thing, I was playing the access card again.
“That’s it, no phone when you get back from school either!”
It went on like this, with me threatening to even deny him access the following day until he sits quietly and lets me focus on what I need to do to get him and his brother to school on time. I also noticed and told him all the things he was yet to do before going to school…
To cut a long story short, he eventually sat in the corner, sulking, occasionally grumbling. And I sat thinking about our interaction, and how he thinks I don’t care about him and I’m trying to make his life difficult. But I thought to myself, that I actually wanted him to have access to his phone, I want him to be happy, but he also needs to trust me on it…trust that I have his best at heart.
It made me think of our relationship with God and how we keep wrestling with Him over what we want. As I thought further about it, I felt the need to talk to my son. This happens too often between us and maybe it’s because we never really talk about the underlying issues. What’s left is suspicion and anger on his part, which makes him want to fight more the next time, and offence on my part, at his continual insubordinate behaviour.
So, I cooled off and decided to talk to him, when the grumbling had quietened significantly. Here are some points from our talk:
1. If you will not do what you are told, but insist on your parent doing what you ask of them, you can’t expect to get your request…
2. If you always got what you want, because you never hear ‘no’ or ‘not now’ from your parent, you will become very spoilt and will end up ruining your life and the lives of those around you…
3. If your parent says no to your request and asks you to do something else, you should do it, even if you don’t like it. They really just want to know you TRUST and RESPECT them. You may actually get the thing you want ultimately; all you need is submission and patience.
4. Being headstrong and demanding your way will NEVER work for you. You will be in check mate, and all your grumbling and crying will only give you a headache. When you’ve cooled down enough to listen, you will still first need to obey your parent before you can even ASK them again for the thing you want…
5. Your parent actually loves you so much and wants to give you the best. You have to trust their best intentions, even when you don’t agree. They don’t like to see you suffer or miserable, and they might even have something better than what you expect or imagine…they just need you to let them lead the way.
I don’t know if these lessons will help you in your own relationship with the Father… What is it you are not doing that He already told you to do? What is it you want that is blinding you from listening to your Father in Heaven? How long will you continue with your rebellious tantrum before you humble yourself enough to surrender to the Lord, trusting Him to have your best intentions at heart, because He really loves you?
I’m sure there are so many more lessons that can be drawn from parenting… But these ones really stood out for me today. Trusting God is a daily discipline and battle for all of us, but we can definitely grow in this and become more trusting over time. It requires practice. As we surrender and see His goodness, we will be more inclined to surrender and give up the struggle for self-preservation the next time we are tested by a need or desire.
Photo credit: http://www.canva.com
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