TODAY’S FORECAST: TGIF!
I’m wondering how many of you are old enough to remember the beloved tale of Travis and his faithful dog, Yeller, by Fred Gipson. While it’s an endearing classic, if you were to ask either of my children who “Old Yeller” is they’d probably look at you and say, “Old yeller? You mean Mom?” Okay, okay, probably not, but that is how I feel they view me sometimes, as this person that yells at them continuously. I try really hard not to raise my voice, but sometimes it’s inevitable when they push me to my limits. Unfortunately, that happens more these days than I care to admit.
This morning was a perfect example. Everything was going quite smoothly before school until it was time to brush their teeth. I knew I was in trouble the moment they entered the bathroom at the same time. I figured I had about 45 seconds before World War 3 erupted, I was wrong, it only took them 38. This is how it all went down:
Meghan (Loudly enough just to make sure I hear her): “Jacob, you’re getting toothpaste all over the counter.”
Jacob: “You’re not the boss of me, sissy.”
Meghan: “Jacob, I’m not trying to boss you, you have to brush your teeth or we’re gonna be late for the bus.”
Me (from the kitchen): “Yes, guys, let’s brush your teeth, we need to get going.”
Meghan: “Mooooommmmmm, Jacob just threw my toothbrush in the bathtub.”
Me: (heading to the bathroom to intervene and praying to God for patience as I walk): “Jacob, did you throw sissy’s toothbrush in the tub?”
Jacob: “Yes, but she was being mean to me.”
Me: “How was she being mean to you?”
Jacob: “She told me I had a baby toothbrush and was bossing me around.”
Me: “Meghan, did you tell Jacob he has a baby toothbrush?”
Meghan: “Yes, because he was baby-talking and he was acting like a baby.”
Me (silently reminding God how I had just had prayed for some patience, hoping He will throw me a bone): “Meghan, rinse your toothbrush off, get some new toothpaste and do not say a word to Jacob. Jacob, you concentrate on brushing your teeth and don’t touch your sister’s toothbrush. Both of you need to apologize to each other. I want you out here with your teeth brushed, shoes on, ready to go to the bus-stop in the next five minutes. “
Five minutes later, after taking a quick brush to my hair in the other bathroom, I come out and their shoes are still waiting for them by the door. Then I hear giggling coming from the direction of the bathroom. I walk in there only to see them laughing and carrying on, with their toothbrushes STILL sitting on the counter with toothpaste on them! Jacob has toothpaste all over his shirt sleeve and Meghan has it on her back. Yep, you guessed it. I lost it – BIG TIME!
It is in moments like these as a parent that I wonder what the right response is when my usually good children grow temporary horns and choose to push my buttons. I wonder if Mary and Jesus had these moments as mother and son when “full of grace” did not really apply.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that as a young boy, Jesus panicked Mary and Joseph when they were traveling back from Jerusalem when they couldn’t find Him in their traveling party. Luke 2: 48-49 (NIV) tells us, When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Do you know what that situation would have looked like had that been my children? Yikes! I dread even thinking about it. If I had to guess, it would probably go something like this:
(Hugging them so tightly they can’t breathe) Are you okay, are you hurt?
(After visually scanning them to check that there are no cuts, bruises or other signs of foul play) Oh my goodness, I love you so much!
(Then with a look that could kill) You’ve been doing what? Where? How could you go off without telling us? Do you KNOW what could have happened to you? Don’t you ever, ever do that to us again, do you hear me? No, I don’t want your excuses. You do that again and the next time you’re going to wish I didn’t find you!
And that my friends would be the calm version 😉
The fact of the matter is, I’m not a perfect mom; never will be. Even if I try to make yelling less a part of my parenting, I know sometimes I will fail, as we all do. My kids know they are loved even if I tend to contract a slight case of the crazies from time to time. God knows I’m trying, loyal and faithful to the cause of teaching my children to be good disciples. If I need to do a little yelling in the process to get my point across, then hey, it happens.
I saw this prayer a couple days ago when I was looking for blog material and thought it was pretty good.
Lord, please forgive me for my impatience, especially when my seemingly sweet children grow horns and “Old Yeller” has come out to play. (List any item that challenges your patience with your children.) God, I ask that You would enable me to have patience with the everyday innocent and not-so-innocent failings of my children. It is my job to teach them how to be Your little disciples. Please enable me to reprimand my children and restore them with gentleness and mercy as You do. Thank you, that with Your help, I can be patient as You are. Not a day goes by, that I don’t need Your Holy Spirit poured out in me so I can be Christ-like in my patience, especially with those who live in our home, or who work at the bank who still don’t understand how to process my social security payment off my card or the pharmacy tech who keeps putting my refilled medicines in a different place so that I have to go pick them up in stages, multiple times. (List any other items that challenge your patience personally). Lord we ask this in your precious name, Amen.