Last night as it was time to get ready for bed, Sophia (my oldest) began whining and crying . . . as she done all day. When I asked her why she had been crying all day, she said, “Because you’ve been mean to me all day.” That statement right there made me want to get in my car and drive away as fast as possible. I couldn’t believe she said that – the one day I knew I hadn’t blown it mommy-wise.
“I’ve been mean to you all day? Really? Let’s see, when you got up this morning, your cousins came over to spend the day. I took you to church where I taught your Sunday school lesson and let you stay in my room instead of the little kids’ room. I took you home and fed you pizza and cookies! After your nap, which you never ended up taking, I gave you and your cousins pedicures. Then we took you to the playground for an hour. Supper was one of your favorites, and I gave you another home-made chocolate chocolate chip cookie – the kind you specifically asked me to make! Was that being mean?”
“No.” Truth of the matter was that she had no idea why she was crying. She had played hard all day, skipped a nap, and then had to say “Bye” to her cousins. She was tired. That’s all. But it still hurt my feelings to be called mean when I had kept 6 kids under 7 years old for almost 12 hours and tried to make it a fun day for them.
Sure, I did have to discipline her some during the day. She wasn’t allowed to throw a tantrum at church (or anywhere for that matter), and she had to stay seated correctly and buckled in the van.
But was that being mean? No. I’m teaching her to respect others and control her anger. When things don’t happen the way she likes, I teach her to seek help rather than just sit there and yell about it. In the car, I want her to be safe, so we I teach her how to sit and buckle her car seat. I think those are pretty self-explanatory. Although she doesn’t understand it now, she will in time (even if that takes until she has her own kids for her to get it).
How often do we do the same exact thing to God? When things don’t turn out exactly the way we planned, our knee-jerk reaction is to say, “Why, God, did you allow this to happen?” Why do bad things happen?How can God be good when there’s so much evil in the world.
Truth is, that’s a big question that I don’t have a simple answer for. I do know this. Romans 8:28a says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” ALL things. That includes the bad things. So, if we know God works all things out for good, the reason question is: Do we trust God? He never said we’d understand or that it’d be easy, but He promises good will come from it.
God also says this in Hebrews 12:6: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” A lot of times my kids will want to do things that are wrong when they see other kids doing it. “But mommy, they’re doing it.” To that my answer is always “Well, I’m not their mommy. I’m yours, and you need to obey.” I don’t correct the other children, because they’re not mine. How often do we see people doing wrong and seemingly “getting away with it.” God disciplines His children, because he loves us. He knows already what good he’s working out for us, and He’s molding us into the image of Christ. It doesn’t feel good now, but it’s clearing the way for something amazing later! When we say, “But they’re doing it!” God says, “I’m not their God. I’m yours, and you need to obey.”
Sophia’s ability to understand everything I tell her to do isn’t the important thing. What’s important is the face that she obeys, simply because she knows I love her.
So, yes, I’m a mean mommy . . . sometimes in the eyes of a four-year old.