From the Mouths of Babes

This is the trickiest thing I’ve ever done, this parenting.

Benjamin is having a lot of trouble at yochien. It’s not entirely surprising, actually. It’s the same kinds of trouble we have with him at home. He is this boundless ball of energy, full of raw emotion and unbridled passion and he wins the strongest-willed child trophy in our family by a landslide. He seems to have this unchangeable idea in his head that things should and must go as he wants them to in all situations, and if they don’t, it isn’t pretty. We have read all the books, tried all the tricks, and we feel like we’re doing the very best that we can for him, and continuing to be “teachable” as his parents. But it’s a huge risk, bringing up a child and sending them out into the world. They don’t come with guarantees, but the Word of God promises that if we “bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” But how old? Egad. Scary part.

The biggest thing we want for our children (aside from having hearts that LOVE God) are to guide them to have hearts that happily obey Him. With Claire and Adam, we’ve had our struggles, but it all seems to be going the right way. They’re pretty much responding the way “the books” say they will! But not Benjamin, and it scares me to death. I pray for that boy more than I pray for the other three combined. Our pastor has said to us that he thinks Benjamin will be very powerful for the Lord when he grows up. (I really hope that’s a prophesy and not just a hunch, Pastor Paul!) Those words have stuck with me so strong. Every time I’m in the process of correcting Ben or punishing Ben, or teaching Ben, I am thinking in the back of my mind that someday, “The little tribe of Benjamin, he shall lead them all” (Psalm 68:27).

Yesterday as I sat through a terrible parent-teacher conference and heard report after report of his teacher’s troubles with him at school, I felt terrible for his teacher. But on the way home, I had the strangest concoction of feelings as I reflected on what I’d just heard. I found myself laughing a little over this precious boy’s weaknesses, and how they are so similar to my own. He’s like this little microcosm of me, poor thing. His character is so much like mine in so many ways. And the same things that Benjamin struggles with are the things that I struggle with–controlling my emotions, wanting to do things MY way, having so much energy and passion and struggling to channel it into the right places at the right times and not just overwhelm everyone with my bursts of intensity. I laughed and cried on the way home, and felt sorry for the little guy. He’s only four, after all. He’s just starting out, really. But I have this quiet confidence in my heart that the Lord has HIS hand on Benjamin too. Somehow, God keeps reminding me over and over that I’m not alone in this. Not only is Keith an amazing father, but we’ve got Him in our corner too. I felt almost a little guilty for not feeling more guilty at Ben’s behavior at school. Does that make any sense at all? Somehow God has given me the grace to see Ben’s big picture. His journey may not be as neat and tidy as Claire’s or Adam’s might be. But in my heart, I can feel it that Pastor Paul is right. That this little man is going to do great things for God, once God gets a hold of him good!!

Today Ben and I had a really good talk.  For the first time, I think Benjamin understood sin. We talked about why he does the things he does (and why I sometimes do the wrong things I do), because our hearts are filthy dirty. And when our hearts are dirty, the things that come out of our mouths and our actions will be dirty too. Benjamin looked up at me with teary eyes and asked a question that melted my heart,

“Mom, do you think God could come to our house?”

“Yes, I do. But why, honey?” I replied.

“Because I need Him to clean my heart.”

From the mouths of babes…

About cashclan

Lisa is a grateful, born-again follower of Jesus Christ who has spent her adult life on the Gospel in several global contexts. She is the wife of one wonderful, jungle-gym of a man, who is to her the single most ravishing piece of flesh on planet earth (stolen good-heartedly from Christine Caine). She is a dedicated home educator to their four beautiful children, ages 6 to 12, whom she would be happy to gush over any time. She is an avid reader and a storyteller, an aspiring writer, a missionary to the nations and a singer of His praises, a loyal friend, an obsessive-compulsive Googler, and comedienne extraordinaire on her best days. She would also like to think that she is a loyal and loving, truth-telling friend.
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7 Responses to From the Mouths of Babes

  1. Starr says:

    I don’t have one quite as energetic as Ben, but all three do have such different personalities. Isn’t it crazy how you change all your self-imposed parenting “rules” based on the one you happen to be parenting at the time? I can already hear the cry of “That’s not fair!” as we parent them through teenage years…..

  2. Catrina says:

    Oh boy, do we need to talk. My 4-year-old and Ben sound like they are carbon copies of one another! Wyatt is on the verge of being kicked out of his preschool for almost the very reasons you described. He has the sweetest heart, but his will is stronger than I’ve ever seen in a 4-year-old. He’s passionate, and quite the perfectionist (which for a 4-year-old just learning how to do things means he’s also chronically frustrated), but we are having the hardest time teaching him how to control himself in the moment. We too feel that if channeled the right way, he will do amazing things as an adult. But we’re scared to death that he could just as easily wind up on a more destructive path. So hard, this parenting thing.

  3. Bridgette says:

    Hey Lisa ~ Wow, sort of reminds me of Shem and I. 🙂 Thank you for the post. I love how you look at this and think, not just lose it (like me). Shem and I are so much alike, it’s frightening – and that ought to make me laugh AND have more grace and patience – even hope! I was humbled as I read this and thought about God’s Sovereignty and how He has all of this in His more than capable hands. Again, thaks for the post – thanks for the reminder and know I’m with ya in prayer… Bridge

  4. Brooke says:

    This touched my heart, too. Keith was quite a challenging child. He got sent to the principal on his first day of Pre-K for telling the teacher he hated her–she had told the class that it was time to move to a different “center” and he disagreed, and threw a fit. I remember her saying, “I didn’t want to send him, but I had to make an example of him to the rest of the class, so they would know it wasn’t okay to do that.” I have story after story of the challenges of parenting that strong-willed, stubborn child (and his equally-matched sister–the Lord blessed me with 2 of them), only in our family, he is more of a carbon copy of Brian, so it’s been even harder for ME to relate and mother him with compassion. From about age 2, whenever I’d bring it up to the doctors, they’d say he’d grow out of it. I waited…3, 4, 5, 6…well now he is 16 and I still have trouble with him, but I can give you hope. I am really proud of the young man he has turned out to be. He is a good student, a good citizen, a hard worker, and I’d be kidding if I said I don’t worry about him, a lot, but at least now he can conform somewhat to get by! 🙂 I pray that all of our children will find the purpose God has for them because I KNOW He doesn’t make mistakes, and He created them just how He wanted them!

  5. Nadia says:

    Ben brought me to tears! Real tears.
    I read your post with deep appreciation and pride for you as a mommy. My position as mommy to Caden, Karlyn and my next son is an honor I cherish & respect. I know the gift of responsibility I have for these three lives- to raise them to seek salvation, love & friendship in Christ. I can go on and on about this, but your heart knows what my heart is feeling.
    I have mommy Prayers for you.
    Ben is a giant to God! Love!

  6. Nadia, I just love the way you worded your motherly mission–to raise them to seek salvation, love and friendship in Christ. That is so beautiful and perfect.

    Oh ladies, thank you SO much for rejoicing with me and lamenting with me and just being “here” with me. I love you all so much my heart swells as I read your wonderful, thoughtful posts. Thank you for chiming in with your love and encouragement. We can do this in Him!

  7. Pingback: My precious, naughty little lamb « Cash Clan Japan

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