I love to read out loud to my two boys. I have been reading aloud to my boys since they were babies. As someone who loves to read myself, I find it can be an enjoyable and educational experience at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone, right?
Well, today I as I was reading I discovered that I was the one who was being educated more than the other two who were sitting on the floor, quietly building and stacking rocks, ( I mentioned quietly because that it is a rare experience that happens in our house, with two boys, maybe when they are sleeping, but that is another story for another time.) Anyways, As my two boys were listening intently to my words, I suddenly stopped paying attention to what I was reading. Have you had that experience where you are reading or listening to someone else speak but are not really focused on their words and your mind kind of trails off a bit? You are involved in the conversation with body language, and eye contact, but other thoughts are filling your mind at the same time. This is what exactly what happened to me. The book I was reading from today, that I am particularly fond of, is called "Ramona The Pest." I can remember reading it over and over when I was a child. I loved to read about all the crazy adventures and predicaments that Ramona would get herself into, page after page. I would find myself chuckling and giggling to myself, as I read and reread each chapter, page after page. Yet today as an adult, I found myself not laughing as much, as I was identifying with Ramona's mother, when she said, " How many times have I told you to keep your hands to yourself!"
When you continue to say things over and over, like a broken record, it becomes less humorous, and more exasperating. When did this enjoyment of life and all it's adventures change? Why do I have such a hard time appreciating the little interruptions that come with raising children, that could end up as a funny memory in my journal one day?
Many thoughts like these were flooding my mind as I continued to read with my mouth, but I found myself somewhere else. Then Bingo, the answer came to me. Maybe the reason I have such a hard time is because I have focused so much on our differences as mother and sons that I have forgotten how much we are the same. They are part of me, and they feel the same joys and hurts that I do. Though I have been commanded by God to guide them and train them, I am no different then them. I struggle with the same sins and temptations that they do. We are told as parents that we should teach our children about love and respect, but are we loving and respecting them in return? Even now as I am writing, I am convicted by these words.
How many opportunities have I missed over the years of raising children, because I have demanded respect and obedience, but neglected to love and respect them as well? Philippians 2:1-4 says, " Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like- minded,having the same love,being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." I am grateful for these words because it reminds me that we all as parents and as children, struggle with this statement. The word of God is not meant to bring condemnation or guilt but is meant for building up and encouraging, and for instructing. I know that God sees my heart and is sharing these words with me in love and understands that though I miss opportunities He is always faithful to create new ones. So tomorrow I will read "Ramona The Pest" to my boys with a new understanding and a deeper appreciation for the little interruptions that come with training children. I will again laugh at the crazy adventures and silly predicaments that life brings to me, chapter after chapter and page after page.