For some reason, I have long had this strange thought that whining would, with careful and biblical attention, not be a problem with my children. You can help me find the verses that say when you don’t ever give a child what he whines for, you can be assured that your child will stop whining forever. It’s with the verse that tells us only those parents who are inconsistent or give in to whining have children who whine.
I’m now starting to wonder if I went straight from the whining stage to the emotional female stage with my daughters. I thought I had a few years, but here is Bethel nearly eight, and able to melt into irrational tears (I don’t KNOW why I’m crying!!!) at the most simple request.
It’s also starting to dawn on me that giving a quick, “Buck up and do the work” isn’t as effective as I used to think. “Stop Crying. That’s unbiblical.” doesn’t work either. So much for loving confrontation. Turns out those things aren’t as loving as I thought they were.
Here’s something that was much more effective when a crying child interrupted my coffee ritual this morning:
“Children are more important than coffee, Bethel.”
And instead of talking about her sinful response, we chatted about when Lee wanted to take away her pacifier, and I thought it wasn’t the right time (it was!). And why we can wait with patience for her to be baptized. Turns out that God wants us to be submissive to authority even though we don’t agree. We can trust him, even when our parents ask us to clean up someone else’s mess. We talked about how to make a godly appeal.
All the time we’re talking (give and take, not lecture this time), I’m looking at the paper pile and thinking, “Seriously? All this time is necessary to work through the emotions so she can obey and sweep up the paper mess that she created?”
And then I thought of emotional days when my daddy would hug me and say, “It will be better in the morning.” When Bethel wails “You’re RUSHING me!” I remember that there were times that my mom sent me for a few days to make cookies with my grandmother at a much slower pace than the one at our house. I suppose there were days for my mom when it was tempting to respond to emotion with emotion, without compassion and with intense disgust.
Long breath. Love. The child doesn’t know why she’s emotional, nor why sweeping up a pile of paper is such a big deal. She doesn’t realize that her emotions will swell up many times in a day some days. Those emotions are what will make her a passionate wife and mother. They will help her when she needs to stand up strong to wrong thinking or evildoers. They will give her compassion to weep tears for those unsaved people around her who need to hear about Jesus. They will give her the creativity she needs to build a home.
Praying for wisdom to be compassionate without cultivating a complaining spirit, and to have a vision for the women that God is creating these little girls to be.