Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Great Debate

There have oftentimes been situations I have walked into with my children that has caused me to either become highly exasperated with them or caused them to be extremely disobedient to me. I have learned to analyze situations I have the opportunity to participate in, trying to accurately predict how my children or I will react and prepare all of us to minimize the negative reactions within either myself or them.

For instance, I try NOT to take all three babies children to the grocery store. This "field trip" usually is an all-morning to all-day experience, from making the lists to organizing the coupons to going to the store to putting away the groceries to cleaning up the huge mess the kids made while making the lists/organizing the coupons. And when we're in the grocery store, oh my. I just won't go there now...but let's just say it's highly exasperating.

So, I've started to think that I should not even enter into situations that cause me to escalate my sinful nature of impatience with the kids (leading to great exasperation...) or give my kids opportunity to disobey (when I KNOW that I'll be giving them a great opportunity to disobey). Now, I know that the children, born into sin, will always be tempted to disobey and will give into that temptation more often than not, but if I KNOW there is something that will be a great test of obedience, I've been declining the opportunity.

All this to say that my friend was going to take her kids to Boone Dam to play near the lake and have a picnic. I, at first, invited myself along, thinking that would be a fun adventure for me and the kids. Yea! It was a great idea! But as I thought about it, though, I foresaw a great opportunity for my kids to disobey and me not being able to aptly enforce obedience. This is what I thought about:

1. My kids would LOVE to run around the hills and open space of the public park property around the lake!
2. But, my kids would want to go INTO the lake and with an infant, I could not properly monitor them
3. When I would tell them NOT to get into the lake, I could say great floods of tears and a great fit of temper from my eldest boy
4. I could see my kids not wanting to eat lunch because of their great desire to get into the lake and disobey me.
5. I could see my kids choosing to disobey anyway in an environment that could threaten their life and for me to not react quickly to that possibility potentially leading to something much worse than "mere" disobedience.

Oh, there is more to the list, but I'll just stop there. I chose to renig my self-invitation and not go to the lake. Now, I was debating within myself whether or not I should not go in the chance my kids would disobey. Hey, they might have loved it, obeyed and had a wonderful time! But, I just didn't want to put myself or them in a situation of great testing. So, we didn't go. And we ended up having a pleasant afternoon and lunch with Daddy (which was another "opportunity for disobedience" that ended up being OK).

So, the great debate leads me to a question: do you assess opportunities that you have with your kids and choose NOT to do them because of how you or your kids will react to the opportunity? It's hard because sometimes I'm choosing to forgo fellowship with a friend or a fun chance for the kids in order to maintain a spirit of righteousness. Now, I know I can't always shelter them, which I don't, but I am starting to assess certain situations where I know I can't handle the sinful reaction of my kids, if it happens (specifically if the situation can lead to something life-threatening). I believe that I did the right thing of not going to the lake. But I wonder how far I should go with my assessing nature.

It's heart breaking to me whenever I look at the sweet faces of my children and know that the state of their hearts are filled with sin. They need Jesus, just like I do, and more than anything, I want to show them Jesus. With all I am and with all I do, I want to God to be glorified and I want my children to desire the same thing. I know that one of the greatest testimonies for them is watching me (and Patrick) in life-action. What life-actions are you willing NOT to take for the sake of righteousness?



Courtney said...

I avoid Wal-Mart/Target/grocery store/mall at all cost if I have MD with me. I've got a huge list of things I need for the new house, but if I can't get them on my lunch break from work, I just can't get them.

I've learned, too, that I become someone I don't like when trying to tame my whining, tantrum-ous kid in public. So, I avoid situations too...and I only have 1! If I had 3, I'd never leave the house.

You're a good mommy, Mel :)

Am+a said...

I avoid certain situations with my elderly in-laws... namely, restaurants. He is not supposed to drink alcohol because of his medication, but at a restaurant he likes to have a beer or a glass of wine. She is diabetic but LOVES starches and sweets, especially when there are desserts on display.

So, I cook at home most of the Sundays when we dine together, and we "frequent" restaurants with alcohol on the menu maybe once a month. I make sugar-free pudding pies and fruit cobblers for Mom the dessert-lover, since her meal is not complete until she's satisfied her sweet-tooth.

I do this for their health, primarily, but I also do it so we can honor them as parents. I know it is not honorable (to them) for us to TELL them (esp in public), "Mom/Dad, you can't have that because you're diabetic / because of your medication." Arguments have happened, and the poor servers are put in an awkward place. Things are more peaceful if I cook at home and CAREFULLY select restaurants.