We’re now in Week 2 of watching our grandkids, Ari (4) and Will (2). Jen is still working in the FEMA command center in Denton, and still working twelve hour shifts. Perhaps our first week could be summed up by this conversation I had with Cookie a few days ago: Cookie: “I can’t figure out why Will is eating so much food! He wasn’t eating that much at his parents’ house.” Me: “Well, he’s a big two year old, and he likes to eat.” Cookie: He keeps asking for more helpings…ohhhh wait…, he’s been feeding the three dogs under the table.”
Needless to say, we’re dusting off those old parenting brain cells, or at least Cookie is, since I’m the one with dementia. This week, Will has ramped up his use of the word, “No!” Believe it or not, he is trying to set limits on grandma and grandpa! He and his sister are teenagers in training!
With a two year old, you don’t get selective responses. Do you want to go outside? No! Do you want to play inside? No! I do believe we are witnessing the early development of that curious phenomena we call Americus Teensaynotous, i.e. the American Teenager! Of course he lacks the refinement of the post puberty period, unable to discern yet when his heartfelt “no” will push the old parenting buttons; I have to admit, he’s kind of cute.
To be truthful, all of us carry the “No!” deep inside us. We all know there’s things we shouldn’t be doing, eating, and drinking, etc, but to those rules we say “No!” We all carry that teenager inside of us. Hopefully, we learn to use him or her judiciously, but sometimes we don’t. There’s a rebellious spirit that dwells in everyone of us.
In Christianity, we sometimes call it the fall, or eating the forbidden fruit, or whatever, but let’s just call it what it really is. It’s telling God “No!” And, not with the innocence of a two year old’s mimicking, but with the knowledge that what we’re doing is wrong. You’ve been there, I’ve been there, and its because at various times in our lives, we think we know everything!
Thankfully, we have a God who understands the trials and tribulations of parenting. To be an effective parent, one must have great patience. One must be supple, to bend with the wind of one’s misdirection. Jesus was so good at providing direction, and so gentle but firm,with those who really needed direction. As the old saying goes, Jesus disliked sin, but he always loved the sinner. It’s something we might reflect on, if it seemed to work so well for Jesus.