I’ve not done very well this week at speaking God’s truth to my kids. The secular, “good mom” in me crops up, more concerned with academics and good nutrition than spiritual growth. I’m praying that God will help me to see what the next spiritual step is for my children. Hmph. Me too, for that matter. I mentioned a little bit ago to my nephew that when I’m in a spiritual funk, I read Psalm 119. Maybe I’ll read that for our breakfast conversation (which frankly hasn’t happened in the last few weeks).
As I think about it, we have had some spiritual conversations after all. Several times in the last month, Laurel (nearly 3) has said “I can’t stop crying” for some reaon or another, usually because she didn’t get her way and has cried herself into a frenzy. It’s given me the opportunity to talk about replacing wrong thoughts with right ones.
My response is “That’s because you are thinking unhappy thoughts. Start thinking right thoughts, and then you can stop crying.” Then I ask her what good thoughts she can use to replace the bad thoughts. She doesn’t get it, and I always end up supplying some good thoughts, usually highlights from her day. I am pretty sure I did this with David long ago.
Perhaps it would be better for me to direct her thoughts towards God and not just her circumstances: God’s goodness. God’s love that sent His son for us. Otherwise, I’m still a secular mom teaching her child how to be happy in external things. I’m going to try this next time it comes up, and I’m quite certain it will come up again.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8-9
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Diane Heeney says
Well, there’s my Dad’s response: “If you want something to cry about, I’ll give you something to cry about” (he wasn’t saved at the time…and, no, I don’t recommend it). My youngest is the drama queen in our home, and she’ll often seek out a mirror to wail in front of, just to appreciate the moment even more. I have found with Kate that the best thing to do is remove her from her audience (reflective surfaces included). And, after she has spent some time alone (I tell her I’ll come and join her when it is quiet, because I want to be able to understand her), we can usually get to the bottom of why she was crying. When she is inconsolable, we don’t get anywhere…kinda like trying to have a rational conversation with someone “under the influence”…but she is under an influence that far transcends alcohol…her sinful and deceitful little heart. Like mama, like daughter. *sigh*
Ahh, good thoughts (I can identify with the need to remove mirrors!). But I’m actually thinking more of when she is trying to stop crying (trying to do right, as far as I can tell) but physically is having difficulty. She really doesn’t know how to stop. At the point I’m thinking of, she needs to choose to put her desires away (that’s what is perpetuating the tears) and replace the negative thoughts (“I want it and don’t have it”) with something positive. If she’s not ready to put away her attitude, I tend to agree that there’s no point in trying to get her to replace bad thoughts with good. Do you see this as a different stage than what I’m talking about?
I totally understand the mirror-thing, with my 3 year old boy.
Right now, I need to get my attitude and actions under better control and be a good example not a crabby one!
Just recently I’ve tried comforting the children when they get to the point of hysteria, or irrationality. They can’t get their little brains to think in terms of good thoughts/bad thoughts. Even when they are crying because they are not behaving, whether it’s not getting their way, or because of discipline for a bad behavior, I stop and just sit them on my lap and really hold them. Not sure if this is right, especially if the crying is due to bad behavior. If they don’t want to be held, I leave them and when I return, they seem to now want to be held and I just hold them till they are done crying. Like infants, maybe some of us need more “crying time” than others. At least when they have calmed down, they are better able to contemplate the situation. I wonder Michelle, if children cry for the same reasons…ie. continuing to cry because she still desires what she can’t have. Sometimes I wonder if children can make those cognitive leaps…ie. If I change my thinking, I won’t have something to cry about anymore. I don’t know, just some thoughts. I’m guilty of not hugging and giving physical comfort to my kids enough, so I tend to “feel” the need to comfort more strongly when they are emotionally out of control.