I have already failed at my new-found parenting techniques.
Saturday night. "Time to put your toys away and get ready for bed" Joe says to the kids. They are suddenly deaf. Emma doesn't even flinch and Luke starts dancing around singing some crazy song.
Remembering Dr. Leman's words that you talk to a child in the way you expect them to act, I say, "I know you guys know how to be good listeners, let's show daddy what good listeners you can be by putting your toys away right now!"
Luke rolls his eyes and goes back to singing. Emma is still completely deaf.
I try Dr. Leman technique #2. Walk away. When the dirty little sinners act up, you are supposed to walk away. When they don't listen and obey, they don't get what they ask for either. So I had it in my mind that when they would ask for a bedtime snack and story, the answer would be no.
I walked away.
The toys do not put themselves away and by now it is turning into chaos. They think they have scored a victory - and I think I am ready to hit the ceiling.
I can't stay calm anymore. I get a garbage bag. A big one. I say, "Well if you are not going to clean up, I will. Say goodbye to your toys that you're not putting away." I start putting things in my bag.
Luke starts to cry. "Well I guess I'll never play with any of my toys ever again. EVER again. I'll just sit on a chair all day and do nothing. NOTHING!" Reality check: he didn't have all of his toys out - only a few. You still have some in your room, kid! How about playing with those tomorrow? Nope. Drama.
Emma has the nerve to say, "Hey mommy, if you're throwing toys away, how about this one too?" She goes to her room and brings me something. "I don't think I want this one anymore anyway."
Push. My. Buttons!!!!
Where's the chapter on this in my parenting book? I know it has to be there somewhere.... I can't find it. Nuts.
They finally calm down and beg for a second chance. Good, I think. Great lesson here. God always gives second chances so we will too. I tell them, 'It is time for bed now, but if you put your toys away first thing in the morning, I will not throw them away.'
The next morning, I am in the shower. Emma sticks her head in the bathroom to tell me good morning. Before I am out of the shower she pokes her head back in and says, "We are all done, mommy. I even woke up Luke and all of his toys are put away too." Luke then chimes in, "And our beds are made!"
Beautiful. We even made it to church on time - early even. Minor miracle. We are headed for a good day.
Not so fast.... Bad decisions and lying are the theme of the day. One after another after another. Are you kidding me??? With each one, we think we are out of the water. Apology, a promise to never ever lie again. Sincere repentance. Then another lie within the hour.
What should I expect, though? I mean really. The very first human beings struggled with this very behavior. Amy's new living translation to follow :)
"Don't do that."
"What did you do?"
"I already know what you did, do you want to tell the truth now?"
"It wasn't me, it was her!"
Is this Adam and God - or me and my kids??? It's hard to tell.
The sermon in church yesterday was about Moses and the 10 commandments. The Israelites were dirty little sinners too. More of Amy's new living translation:
Moses: "Hey everyone, God gave me these cool commandments."
People: "Oh awesome! We can do what God says. Afterall, he just took us through the Red Sea and delivered us from Egypt. God rocks!"
Moses: "I'm going to go up on the mountain and talk to God for a bit. Be good!"
People: "Okay, we will. Listening to God is the best thing!"
A little while later...
People: "Hey, let's make a golden cow and worship it."
Other people: "Holy cow! You are so awesome!" (Just realized I said holy cow! HA! Wonder if that's where the saying comes from??)
A little while later...
Moses: "What are you doing? One of the 10 commandments was 'No other gods.' What is wrong with you people?"
Who knows what the people said - I think he heard a bunch of excuses like:
"Well we got bored and had nothing else to do."
"The statue acidentally made itself." (Just like the rocks accidentally throw themselves around here.)
"It wasn't me."
Sigh.... I don't know why I expect my kids to be any different than Adam, the Israelites - or me. We are all dirty little sinners. God must be in a constant stage of frustration with all of us.
I can only hope that as we do our best to train our dirty little sinners UP that they begin to WANT to make good decisions. That they begin to let God work in them and through them. That they want to do the right thing, even if they find themselves "doing things I don't want to do" - as Paul said in the New Testament.
Thank God the blood of Jesus covers our sins. Thank God the Holy Spirit makes us want to turn from our sins. Praise God for His forgiveness and mercy.
Thank God for second chances. And third chances - and 200th chances. Unfortunately, we all need them.