Today, I had a sobering thought. When teaching my children, I do my best to instill in them godly principles. It is my hope that they are raised to live out Biblical principles. So when Caleb pushes Chloe out of the way to get to something, I instruct him that we put others ahead of ourselves, and we give special consideration to our sister (men treating women respectfully is very important to us, but we also require Chloe to honor Caleb above herself, so there is not a double standard). If Caleb and Chloe fight over a toy, my new plan is to take it away….because the principle of the Bible is that which you try to hold onto, you will lose. (That is a little over their heads, so I usually do not bother explaining that).
Those are just a couple of examples. You get the idea. (On a side note: I plan to start praying more about this, because I feel like there is so many things in parenting that I default to the world’s systems instead of teaching what the Bible says. Like, it is my temptation with a toy to say, “Who had it first?” when our role as Christians is not to be first. So these are my ideals, but I am hoping to incorporate them more.)
Back to my point…..today, I was giving my kids a bath in the middle of the day. It was not quite nap time and lunch had been quite messy. Plus, they love taking baths. And I can read while they are contained. I really should do that more often….as I digress…..anyway, when I was instructing Caleb (Chloe gets into trouble, too, but she is a little too young to grasp explanations. Right now, hers are just “no”, “sit down”, etc) to think of his sister’s desires before his own, it dawned on me that I am practically a child when it comes to this.
How many times do I get peeved when I am not first, when others cut in line, take the last cookie, want to sleep in?? Yes, there are times when I excel in the area of selflessness, but unfortunately, there are times when I fail miserably. The “me first” mentality is one I struggle with.
So today, I have been praying to more accurately live out the things I teach my children. Actions truly do speak louder than words. And though I am not such a martyr to say I completely fail…because that would be an affront to Jesus who has changed me in many ways, but there is definitely room for improvement. In the days to come (and for the rest of my life), my prayer is to live out the Bible’s command to consider others above ourselves.
I had a quirky but fabulous teacher in college who would always end class with the following (paraphrased): “Always wear your seat belt. And always have grace for others because they could be having the worst day of their lives.” That has really resonated with me. Maybe that man who cut me off in traffic is racing to the hospital to visit his mom before she breathes her last. Or it could be positive; maybe he is racing to get to the birth of his child. Or maybe that person who cuts in front of me in the line has an unkind husband waiting at home who does not tolerate her lateness. Grace for others. It’s not that hard.
And, yes, maybe someone is just being rude. But on the off-chance they are having the worst day of their life….oh, and because I love Jesus….I hope to have the heart of Christ. Merciful. Tender. Forgiving. Loving. If Jesus could love and forgive the men who hung him to die, surely it is not that hard to treat others respectfully.
This post was sort of all over the place, but this reality is just resonating in my heart.
Lord, teach me to be the person I require of my children.
Oh, and in full disclosure, I should add that after having this wonderful thought during their bath time, the bath ended with one of my worst moments in parenting. Thank you, Jesus, for grace. Because I sure need a lot of it.