Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes you teach your children, and sometimes . . .

At 21 months, Lyndon's training has officially begun.

Well, it actually begun the moment we brought him home from the hospital (training him to sleep in a crib, then to sit in a high chair, then to stay away from the stairs, and so on), but I'm talking about hardcore, Biblical, let's-memorize-some-verses training. Maybe we should call it discipleship?

Anyway, in the last few weeks, Adrian and I have noticed that our son complains. A lot. Now, he only has a few dozen words, so it's not the kind of verbal complaining older kids do, but it is complaining nonetheless. If you have or have had toddlers, you probably know what I'm talking about. They make this sound that's not quite a cry, but definitely not a happy noise-- some people call it fussing; personally, it reminds me of a police siren-- and they do it when something is happening that they don't like but know they can't change.

Moms, do you hear it yet?

Well, we decided to call it what it is. And we decided that our child is old enough to start recognizing it for what it is. So when I was, say, putting his jacket on, and he started making this noise, I began to say to him, "Lyndon, you are complaining." And then I would tell him what God says about complaining, which is pretty straightforward and comprehensive:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing."
-- Philippians 2:14 (ERV)

Doesn't leave much wiggle room, does it? It's exactly the kind of verse an almost 2 year-old needs: short, sweet, and to the point, with no loopholes. Within a few days of this, our little guy started to recognize this behavior, to the point where I can now ask him, "Lyndon, are you complaining?" and he will either nod his head, pout for a moment as if he just got caught, and stop, or shake his head no and stop. Either way, he has both connected the behavior to the word and realized that it's wrong.

And as I patted myself on the back for being such a good parent, I realized something . . .

I complain. A lot.

Lyndon and I were on our way to the grocery store last night, to try and throw together something for dinner-- after my husband came home and declared that he had a migraine and had to lie down upstairs, and no, we would not be going to (and eating at) Costco like we had planned, but he was really hungry and pizza sounded good-- and I did not have a good attitude. In fact, if you could have heard my heart, it would have been making that toddler police car noise I love so much. I grumbled and fussed in my grown-up way, and then it hit me: I was doing exactly what Lyndon had been doing. I was complaining.

And if I hadn't been training my son, I never would have realized it.

I repented to God and to the little guy in the backseat and decided to be grateful for the opportunity to serve my sick hubby the way he has served me so many times (early pregnancy comes to mind).

Sometimes you teach your children, and sometimes they teach you.

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