This afternoon David said “It’s not fair that Daddy has more airplane books than I do.”
I smiled, and then was determined not to lecture, but instead to ask questions and keep the conversation going.
So I asked why he thought it unfair. Not a brilliant question, because of course he didn’t know. Still, it gave me some extra seconds to think of what direction I could take the conversation, what Scripture would be best to share.
I could have told him that when he’s able to use the books without ruining them (they are large coffee table photo books), he can read them anytime he wants to. But that wouldn’t have touched on the root problem. I’m thinking as I type, What is the root problem? Yes, of course [feeling like I missed something obvious]. That will help me evaluate my response, even if it’s a little late. Discontent? Selfishness?
Here is the approach I took instead. I asked him where all Daddy’s books came from. Actually, they all were gifts, but I wanted him to remember that all gifts come from God. Here is the verse I shared with him:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
Then I asked whether God gave everyone the same gifts. We made some comparisons. God didn’t give us a large yard where we could have goats and pigs and cows and chickens, but he gave us a house near a marsh where we can see a variety of birds. I asked David whether he had more toys than some people, and he acknowledged that he did. I asked if there were some children who had more toys than he did, and he acknowledged that this was the case.
Then I asked why God gives us good gifts. I reminded him that everything is ultimately for God’s own glory. He can share his toys when children come over for Bible study. We can praise God for all the beautiful birds we see. It’s not important who has more or less. I reminded him of this verse that we’ve memorized:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31
To be truthful, by the end of the conversation we were both forgetting how it started in the first place. I should have talked about being content, about thanking God for the good gifts he has given us instead of worrying about whether God gave someone else a better gift. But Daddy came home and we were all distracted in the excitement.
I don’t think this way about physical things, like books or possessions, but sometimes I do make comparisons where I shouldn’t. It’s easy to wish I had the gift of grandparents nearby, or that my children…. or that my husband…. I suppose I needed a good reminder that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above, even the gifts that I’m not sure I want: like being away from family, or criticism, or some other crisis or limitation.
And ultimately, I can recognize that all of those gifts, are for God’s glory.
It could be that there is a better approach for David; I’m open to suggestions. Maybe though I was preaching to myself and didn’t know it until just now.
How are you using God’s Word to teach your children? How is God’s Word changing you this week?