Yesterday was “one of those days.” Can’t explain why exactly, but it just seemed like everything took longer than it needed to, involved more arguing, whining, and complaining than usual, and…ultimately resulted in me yelling at the children, which we all HATE. Of course, the words were barely out of my mouth when I apologized and tried to re-set things. Even so, I ended the day feeling discouraged for a variety of reasons, the least of which was because I was feeling like the children just weren’t “getting it.”
You know what I mean…it seems like we invest so much, so constantly in our children. We want to impart in them a godly character, but we want that not to come from duty but out of a heart of love that is surrendered to Christ. That’s a lofty goal for little ones, to be sure, and I’m usually pretty realistic in my expectations. Even so, I felt like even my older children were struggling more than usual and I was exhausted by the effort.
The kids knew I was discouraged. After our evening time of prayer and Bible reading, my nine year-old son put his head in my lap and said, “Mom, I’ve been trying really hard to do it God’s way.” But then he kind of chuckled and said, “Well, not really, I guess I just do pretty good most of the time.” And he’s right…he is usually pretty compliant and quiet. He encourages his siblings to do what’s expected of them. He “goes with the program” pretty well. On the other hand, I can readily admit that I have a few other children who are not like that. If they’re not really striving to please the Lord, it is more than obvious in their behavior.
This made me realize how easy it is for me to let our quiet kids “off the hook,” in the sense that they don’t go through as many “teachable moments” as their other siblings. They don’t consistently get called on the carpet for their misdeeds (or worse yet, I don’t always address occasional troubles with their “heart condition,” because it doesn’t necessarily result in acting-out behaviors). I have to admit, in the hustle-and-bustle of every day, I tend to correct the obvious problems and let the “little things” slide. Trouble is, it’s usually my quiet kids that do the “little things.” As a result, I don’t think they’re as likely to be “convicted” and see their sin as sin, because they’re comparatively “better” than others…and likely, they have a harder time understanding their need for repentance. But, as I told my son upon reflection this morning, Hell is going to be full of a lot “good” people.
I hope that as parents, we will all challenge ourselves with this understanding and apply it well as we disciple our children in the Lord.