A baby just learning to walk is old enough to dump out all the toys in the toy box, but getting him to pick them up might be another story. What is a mother to do?
If you didn’t read the first problem solving post, you’ll find it helpful to read it first.
First, let’s brainstorm the possible underlying contributions.
- With an infant, I always ask whether he understands what I am asking him to do.
- Is he overwhelmed?
- Is he sinfully refusing to obey? (Clues I look for: has he already demonstrated an ability to do what I am asking? does he run away when I try to help him obey? does he cry when I help him obey? If I hand him a toy, does he drop it and turn away)
- It is possible that the underlying motivations are a combination of sinful and developmental/ personality ?
What parental contributions might be contributing to the difficulty?
- I might have too big of a toy bucket.
- I might be waiting until all the toys are gone?
- I might be preoccupied with my own tasks: cleaning house or checking email, and am unwilling to teach or help him learn to clean up.
- I might be tentative, not really knowing what to do when he doesn’t pick anything up.
- I might find it easier and faster to pick everything up when he goes to sleep.
What should he put off?
- If he’s disobeying, then I want him to put away disobedience.
- If it’s not all deliberate disobedience (which is likely with a baby or young toddler) I want to put off a lack of understanding, and replace it with understanding. I expect to see childish behavior with a child that is not a sin issue; he merely needs to be taught and encouraged.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. I Corinthians 13:11
- I want to replace discouragement with encouragement. Sometimes even after my children know to obey, they are easily overwhelmed. I’ve misinterpreted their lack of action as rebellious behavior.
What should he put on?
- putting some toys away
- I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to matter how many toys he puts away. I’ve also noticed how my actions can make a large difference in his discouragement and apparent overwhelmed feelings.
The following passage is an interesting one to consider. We understand that discouragement is often a result of a lack of hope in God. Our tendency when we see a discouraged person is to encourage him by rebuking him, but God dealt with such a man differently than, say, David who had sinned with Bathsheba. Look and see:
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. I Kings 19:4
Notice also this New Testament passage that describes different ways of responding to different kinds of people.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. I Thessalonians 5:14
That’s all for today. Tomorrow, we’ll look at something a bit more complex.