When our first child was about a year old we were sitting on the living room floor playing with blocks. When we were done I told her to put the blocks back in the box. She put a couple in and then stopped.
“Put the blocks in the box.” I said. She put one more in and stopped.
“Put the blocks in the box.” I said again. She didn’t. She just sat there looking at me as though the English language had ceased to exist.
“Put the blocks in the box.” I remember this episode because I said that phrase approximately 4,000 times in the next hour. She eventually put the blocks in the box.
I made all other life everywhere cease until these blocks were put in the box. Sure, it would have been easy for me to clean up her mess, but I am not about what is easy, I am about what is right.
There have been many times in my fathering where I have sat somewhere for an hour repeating myself. I will not be defeated. I will win. You will not get away with not doing what I am saying.
Which leads me back to yesterday’s post: stop saying stuff. Unless you are willing to sit there for an hour to make sure the job is done, don’t bring up the job.
At present, in this same child’s life, I can say to her “Go do the dishes” and she will and I generally don’t get the huffy teenager attitude with it either. She knows I mean what I say and the block picking up episode is one reason why (even though she does not remember this). It was my constant mindset.
Now, a word of caution. Dad’s will should win, but this does not mean the child does not have a will, nor that dad’s will means the child’s individualness does not exist.
The point is to show that Dad’s will is better, but Dad can also bend His will to fit the child. I learned this from God. God had Samson tie foxes together and set them on fire to judge Philistines. This is awesome.
But God never let Jonah do this, nor did He let Job or Daniel do this. Each person in the Bible is unique and God uses their uniqueness with His will.
When my son came along, putting away blocks was simpler with him. I’d say “Put the blocks in the box” and I’d throw one across the room into the box. This was awesome for him and he began shooting hoops with blocks.
Our middle child learned to let her brother and sister do all the work.
God’s will is right and better than ours. My will is better than my kids’ will. I know more and I’m in charge and also the one at fault for family idiocy. It is my job to be in charge. But I am not to be a raving lunatic dictator, I can bend my will to accommodate individuals, just like God does. Also, like God, I am willing to change if they bring up a fine idea–Moses intercession for Israel changed God’s mind about judging them.
My kids have free will. They can choose to do really dumb things. Just as we have free will and can reject God’s will. God is faithful, willing to forgive, but He will also judge us on how well we did His will. He is in charge, therefore, we should do His will. My kids should feel the same about me. God is patient, He endured Israel’s stubbornness for 40 years!
If you do not know who God is, or you have a twisted view of God, it will affect your parenting. Know God. Be patient. Do the work of making your kids do the work.