...is that we run into conflict on a daily basis. I don't think three-year-olds are exempt from this predicament. This past week Isaac had a nasty double pink eye infection. His poor eyes were all gooey and goopy. He had a minor cold as well, which meant that he was not his playful, cheery self. During times like these, I have no problem as a mom letting him watch as much television as his heart desires. It's also pretty cute that he wants to snuggle with me more than usual!
As any mom out there knows, whenever we "give in" a bit more to our kiddos, it's often hard to break them of a certain habit. We normally watch a minimal amount of television in this house. We purposely keep it in the basement so we're not tempted to bow down to it. It's a safe guard for all of us and helps us guard our hearts. I like shows and am easily enthralled with stuff that has no lasting value. (Just a little confession time, I guess! Now you know a weakness of mine!)
Isaac got pretty used to having full reign of the television this week. He watched episode after episode of Sid the Science Kid. I kinda like it, too! The characters are a bit fruity and quirky, and who can resist Grandma's laugh?! This afternoon he watched it a few times and wanted to keep watching it!
Matt is now feeling under the weather and decided he needed to simply veg in front of the television for a while. I have no problem with that. It's what you want to do when you're ill. Much to Isaac's dismay, Matt was going to watch television. Period! Isaac sulked and whined his way upstairs to tell me, "Mom, I want to watch my show, and Daddy wants to watch his show." Really? Well, therein lies a problem, right buddy?
It's easy and convenient to get exasperated over our children's selfishness. After all, we train and instruct them to put others first, to do all things without grumbling, to respect others and serve joyfully. Yet as I sat while Isaac told me his problem (and to him it is a big dilemma), I quickly reminded myself that this moment is a teaching moment. I told Isaac that indeed it was a problem since he and Daddy both wanted the same thing at the same time. It simply wouldn't work for them both to watch their shows. I could see the struggle for power, the struggle to exert his will over our will, the struggle to be right, the struggle to persuade me into telling Daddy to let him watch his show, the struggle to give up something to make someone else feel better. It happens to adults and children alike. We are gripped by self-centeredness, and we often need gentle guidance toward "other-mindedness".
Isaac understands that Daddy doesn't feel well. He gets it. I need to always be mindful of helping him recognize how to put others first. In this case, Daddy needed a break. The kind thing to do is allow Daddy to relax and unwind as he wishes. Maybe I made it out to be a bigger deal than it was because Isaac immediately said, "Well, let's pway Reader Rabbit!" Works for me, kiddo!
I guess my point is that teaching and training never end. We consciously make a choice in how to react to our kids' actions and what their hearts reveal. It's my job as Isaac's mom (and Malayna's too!) to gently guide him by the truth into what is best for him. Instead of getting frustrated and unleashing anger, I need to remember that he is trying to make sense of his world. When his stubborn will shows itself, it is my job and calling to lead him to repentance. We're going to face larger mountains than small disagreements in our home. The principle still remains: train him, teach him, gently and lovingly guide him always, and rebuke him in love when needed.
That small moment in our day spoke volumes to me about the kind of mom I desire to be. Do I want to be remembered by my kids as some hot-headed, strong-willed, not-willing-to-listen mom? Or, do I want my kids to share openly with me about their struggles whether they be large or small? I choose the latter.
Conflict in inevitable and is actually a sign of a healthy relationship. Today, I choose to help Isaac when conflict arises in his life. Truthfully I can only do this by abiding in the love of Christ. My impulsive nature rears its ugly head when I'm not remaining in the Vine. Moment by moment, I must choose patience. I pay for it when I don't and so does Isaac.
How about you? What kind of mom do you want to be for your kids? How are you doing in those tough areas? Where have you grown? Let's rejoice in knowing that the Lord guides us into mothering our children. We can rest assured knowing that He lovingly leads us in this amazing yet challenging calling. Let's follow in His steps.