My children have been bickering with one another a lot lately.
For example, Brian is holding a toy that belongs to Elizabeth.
Brian: "Dis is mine."Elizabeth: "Um, no, actually, Brian, it's mine."Brian: "No, it's mine."Elizabeth: "Brian, no, it's mine. Not yours. So-and-so gave it to me."And so on, ad infinitum (if I would let it go on that long!)
Of course, I'm always patient with them, helping them to see the error of their ways, guiding them in repentance, leading them in paths of righteousness....
The truth is, it's driving me NUTS! I've been racking my brain trying to come up with what the sins are that they're committing in these exchanges so that I can address them and actually lead them in those paths of righteousness. After a couple of days it finally occurred to me that I should be praying for them and my reactions. Usually I just say, "Stop! That's enough!" Or I specifically address Elizabeth with, "Elizabeth, it's not helpful to keep up this conversation. Drop it."
Today I read this in Proverbs:
Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I teach you today, even you.
Our goal in this parenting business needs to be teaching and instructing our kids so that they too may trust in the Lord. Left to my own devices, I would simply try to control their outward behavior, get them to (gasp!) SHUT UP, "be nice" to each other, and give their mother some peace. That would work, sort of, while I'm always with them, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't do them any good when they're out in the word on their own.
Right now, among other things, Brian needs to learn not to provoke his sister and Elizabeth needs to learn to swallow her pride and let things go. Any of you adults out there still struggle against these sins? I do. BUT it makes a big difference in my life that I can trust the Lord to be my hope and stay, not my own proud attempts to establish my place in this world. It makes a big difference in my life that I can trust the Lord and love my neighbor, even when he is not loving me back.
Moms & dads, if your kids are making you crazy, turn to the Lord. Let's ask for His help to address situations as He would have us address them, (not as I would ... just to get some peace!) This mom sure needs all the help she can get. I'm thankful to have the God of all creation there with me, forgiving my sins, reminding me of those who taught me to trust Him, and prompting me to do the same for my wee ones.