Every once in a while, I am given little epiphanies regarding the nature of God as I observe my children. If you are offended by my religious views, skip this post and come back next time. In the meantime, I am going to share some of these thoughts here.
Last year, as Lee was just learning to speak, I found it highly important that we teach him to be polite. The biggest thing was teaching him to say "Please" and "Thank-you." I, like millions of other mothers, found myself telling Lee "Say Please!" and "Say Thank-you!" almost constantly. I'd be holding some slobbery toy in my hand. I don't want it, I don't need it, and I want him to have it. But I would pause, and tell him, "Ask me please!"
How often does God hold marvelous and specific blessings in his hand, waiting and wanting to give them to us, and says, "Say please!" And afterword, when the blessing has been lovingly bestowed, does he cup his hand to his ear (pardon my sacrilege) and wait for the "Thank you!" I know that since teaching Lee to say Please and Thank-you, I've tried much harder to be patient, to be thankful, and to notice all the beautiful things the Lord has given me.Today Lee and I arranged with Cody to have a picnic when Cody finished his class at about noon. We knew it would be around noon, but sometimes he is released from class early, and sometimes he needs to stay a little late. He was going to call us when he got done. Lee and I (I) made the sandwiches and packed the lunch, and I got Lee mostly ready to go. About eleven thirty, he took his socks off. I was getting Annalisa ready, and became quite frustrated with Lee. I decided to have a teaching moment, and told him he needed to put his socks back on before we could go--that I would not do it for him. He said "Huh?"--he pretends that he doesn't understand when he doesn't want to do something. I told him again. "Huh?" Again. "Huh?" I sat him down on the chair, handed him his socks, and warned him that he would not be able to go on a picnic with daddy if he did not put on his socks. "Oh! Okay! Socks!" And he started doing it. Then he got distracted. He dropped his socks on the floor. He took two minutes laughing and goofing off and pointing out to me that his socks had fallen. I warned him again. I continued reminding him to put on his socks, and that any second Daddy would call and it would be time to go. Sure enough, a minute later, Lee was still sitting on the chair laughing and being silly with his socks, when the phone rang and it was time to go get daddy. Lee was not ready. So I left. (Of course I only left to back the car out of the garage, but typically this is long enough for him to realize the consequences of not being prompt.) I know for a fact that this same scenario took place in my childhood, and I imagine many parents do the same thing.
That's when it hit me--our Father in Heaven is warning, asking, pleading, for us to prepare, to do what he needs us to do, so that we can enjoy the proverbial "picnics" in the eternal realms. And often, it is something as simple as putting on our socks. Not also our shoes, our coat, hat, and gloves, buckling into our carseats, and preparing the picnic; no, just put on our socks. That is all. And, unfortunately, like little Lee, we far too often sit on the chair, wanting to go to the picnic, but we get distracted or we pretend not to hear, and we drop what little we've been trusted with on the floor. We laugh about it, we ignore it. Hopefully it is not too late for all of us to bend down and put on our socks.I believe very firmly that we are all children of God, that he is the Father of our Spirits, and he has the same love and devotion to us that a parent has for his child. Only God's love is perfect. There is much more I can learn from my children, and I plan to try my best to watch for these moments, and to learn the lessons the Lord is teaching me. For truly, as I teach my children, I am the Child being taught.