Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jesus Loves

My oldest son. Man, it still blows me away that I have duplicates of any gender much less two boys. My oldest son is very willful. This is going to be a great asset to him as an adult.

At least it will be if we can harness willful behavior into strong willed behavior. The difference, as Charlotte Mason explains so well in her books, is that willful behavior is doing what he wants when he wants it,or throwing a fit. Strong willed behavior is doing what is necessary even when he wants to do something else. In other words, it is when he uses his will to control his desires. Being a strong willed person will help him in life. It will allow him to conquer challenges and overcome problems.

We just have to get there first.

Things are getting better. Slowly. But we have made a minor change in our morning routine. After a 90 minute complete loss of self control, I decided something needed to change. I am used to long tantrums from this child. But this one was horrendous. Nothing, not tv, food, a car ride, time in his crib, hugs, NOTHING helped him get a grip. 90 minutes of tantrum was brutal - for both of us.

The next morning I picked him up from his crib, sat him on my lap and prayed with him.Very simply we say something like, "Dear Jesus, please help Ian be nice with his hands, and keep his self-control. Jesus loves Ian. Mommy loves Ian. Amen."

While I do not believe in a push button God, I do believe that prayer helps all of us. If nothing else, we were remembering where to go when we need help. And boy did we need help!

Jesus has helped us as I have noticed incremental progress in this area. But the biggest confirmation came just the other day. My husband found an Advent ornament that Hallmark is putting out right now. Every day you turn the bottom and a verse or two of scripture play. Beth was looking at it and said, "it's baby Jesus." because the ornament has a nativity scene on it. Ian came running shouting, "Jesus! Jesus!" Our prayer time of "Jesus loves Ian" has created in him the sense that Jesus love him. I cannot think of a better introduction between my son and his savior than this. I understand anew the power of Jesus' love.

3 comments: said...

I love this! It made me cry! You're a great mom, Emily. You inspire me.

Kim Peters said...

I'm glad you shared this. It's the first time I've ever heard the term "strong-willed" used in a positive sense.

I still remember the day when I was a kid when my mom pointed at me after some long-since-forgotten disagreement and said, "I'm going to break that strong will of yours, Kimberly." I didn't really know what she meant but my whole identity felt threatened. My immediate reaction in my mind was, "Oh yeah? Good luck with that." Off and on growing up, I'd overhear conversations where my parents would be discussing with other parents how stubborn I was and how determined they were to do something about it. I grew up thinking that everyone's goal was to break me down, and I wasn't going to have it. I wasn't sure what I was fighting for, but I was determined to win.

I'm very thankful I had a compliant child, because I don't think I would have had the insight to handle a strong personality as well as you handle your son.

Fullerlife said...

I enjoy being your friend Emily. YOu share such great things. I was having similar issues with B. He is SO smart and is vigorous to reach new goals. He sometimes becomes "wise in his own eyes" and this produces frustration for all of us. He gets angry and throws fits. For the longest time, he woke up in a FOUL mood. Nothing seemed to make him happy. At the time, I was reading "The 4:8 Principle" in which the author would tell his children every single day that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made". I decided to give it a try because it made sense to me to tell him about the greatness I get to experience with him everyday. So, the first morning he woke up I said, "B, repeat after me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Jesus love me. Mommy and Daddy love me. I am going to have a great day." You know what? The results were amazing. 90% of the time, we have a very happy boy. The other 10%, we repeat those words throughout the day as often as needed. God is so good.