My wife and I did some baby sitting this Sunday and it reminded us of the many times we just didn’t know what to do with a child.
As a reminder to my reader, my wife and I have raised five kids, and have had our challenges, some of which we may have succeeded at, some we failed at. But with all of the child rearing, we can look back and see the grace of God in giving us many blessings as a family.
But back to the intent of the story.
We had a little baby with us for close to 7 hours, and when the little one is not asleep, she cries. Cries cries cries. Until she is picked up, but then, after a brief respite, she goes back to crying crying crying. Wow. So much crying.
Prior to experiencing the joys and trials of parenting, I had the attitude of “Make the kid obey” for every parent out there.
Parent the child.
Make em obey!
But with a child comes a will, and with that will comes a difference of desire. After the birth of our children, I slowly (too slowly) understood the concepts of training the will of a youngster, of directing the youth to better things. Telling a child to obey does not work (for long). Sure, they may conform, but that is not the goal is it?
This little one we cared for, she just cried cried and cried some more. She wanted something and in my heart of hearts, I wanted to just figger a way to make her stop. The incessant crying only to get what she wants. Terms like spoiled, coddled and pampered raced through my head, but I fought against such judgmental thoughts, since I know my broken nature is the source of that reactionary thought.
Still, is there no way for this little one to just quit crying?
Eventually I became numb to the crying, sat still and let my thoughts wander. (Oh nooooooo….)
How often have I known a young (in the faith) believer that cries incessantly over some issue. One who claims the name of Christ and yet is divisive, full of gossip, a backbiter and continually complaining.
With both scenarios, discipline is required. Of course with the little one, this is kind of a moot point, since she has such little capacity to understand any type of discipline. (BTW, when I mention discipline, please do not default to understanding corporeal punishment.)
With the young believer, strong biblical verses need to be applied, speaking of the danger their behavior is leading them towards. Grace needs to be understood properly, and wisdom is needed when discussing an immature believers actions and attitudes. Growing up necessitates direction and discipline.
With a young child, as the child understands the discipline, it needs to be administered consistently and under the constant attitude of love. Before a child is one year old, the concept of “NO” should be firmly understood by the child.
Remember how I mentioned my mind wanders a few paragraphs back. You have just entered the “Simpson” Zone, where strange and weird thoughts connect with one another to try to communicate a general life truth. A general life truth of relating to others in their situation.
This bit of a story all started with a little one crying crying crying. And my reactionary thoughts. Golly, if I had just a bit more patience, I would have understood that this little one is only 6 months old, and she is cutting her first teeth.
Can you blame her for crying? Not at all. No discipline required, of course (as if it would have been of benefit!!!) Just an adult that needed to understand the facts.
By the way, when you come into contact with a young believer, understand his or her situation prior to throwing those danger verses out there.
Wisdom my friends. It runs on knowledge and understanding.