Are You the Child or the Parent?

A parent must discern whether their child’s questions are meant to learn or to challenge his authority.

The conversations go like this:
ME: Sand the bathtub.
HIM: Couldn’t I just clean it?
ME: The instructions for the paint say to sand it.
HIM: It doesn’t need to be painted.
ME: (I do not need to justify my decision to paint the bathtub.) That isn’t your decision.
This is usually where I am so frustrated with his questioning my authority, that I tell him, “Never mind. I’ll sand it.”
He relents: “Mom, I was just ….. I will sand it.”
But I sanded it and send him away. Fighting wasn’t worth it to me.

Being the parent means you make the decision. 
You also bear the responsibility when the action does not go well. 

In this case, the bath tub painting went great! 
And my child? He continues to fight each and every decision.
That's his choice after repeated correction.
When he was younger, I instructed him to do the job than ask his questions.
Obey then ask.
It's not about learning; it's about obedience.
He challenges my authority. 
He thinks he knows best and can make my decisions for me.
Often correcting me of what I have said.
I use to get caught up in explaining my decision.
Instead of working on the project, I would argue about why it needed to be done.
The fight is not worth it to me anymore. 
Often I just do it myself. 

(He isn’t a toddler anymore. He is now a teenager.)
I have addressed how to instill truth in your children. See Holding onto Truth. 
The child has chosen to habitually neglect instruction.
The proverbs about answering a fool in his folly comes to mind. 
When I answer, I become like him.
When I don’t, he thinks he is right.

Life gives plenty of consequences that allow for learning—or not.
Perhaps God with life's lessons can finally get through to him. I certainly cannot.

Recently being prompted by God’s Spirit, I felt I must “prepare.”
For what? I did not know.
I prepared my mental state by spending more time in His Word. 
But I also prepared by cleaning, decluttering, and doing the next thing.. 
As I prepared, I asked God, “Why? For what should I be ready?"
He did not answer.
Who is the child here?
I would like to think that in my walk with God that I could out-grow my childhood, and respond like an adult, but I still call Him “Father” and He still knows more about tomorrow than I, so I submit to His direction, even when I don’t know the details.

But I find myself, like my son, asking questions that challenge His ways.
“Is this what you want me to do?”
“If I knew what this was for, I could prepare better….”

It reminds me of my son, when he asks, “Where are going?”
If I forget and tell him, he must know why? And for how long? And what we are going to do there. Then he will ask why can’t we do this or that.
Because everything is a fight, I tell him, “Get in the car.”
If the other boys ask—since they do not question my authority, nor seek to alter my plans—I explain the plan. It is for information, not confrontation.

I wonder if that is why God does not explain His plan to me.
I hear His gentle rebuke, “Trust Me.”
It is trust again.
I sigh.

Trust means I do not decide.
I just obey. Without understanding
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. 

Isaiah went naked for three years to foretell the coming destruction of Egypt (Isaiah 30). 
Did Isaiah question God’s instruction?
He wasn’t a red-neck farmer like Amos. Isaiah was a well-education, upper-class man.
What would his neighbors say?
We don’t know the struggle that Isaiah went through to obey.
All we read was that he obeyed.
Could I do that? 

Aren’t we more civilized today? Would God ask us to do that? Surely not!
That would be me as the child talking again. 
Making plans.
Questioning God’s authority. 
Are you sure this is what should be done, God?

Our praise team at church meets to play the songs before the sermon is recorded each week during these times of isolation. I've never actually listened to them, because I can't. Too humiliating. Our family fast forwards to the message and sings together our own songs.
When our leader suggested meeting again, I asked, “Is anyone even listening?”
That is a child's question. 
Because it doesn’t matter if anyone is listening, if God told us to do it.
[Isaiah probably thought that too. Is anyone even listening to me?
If they were, they weren't repenting.] 
Our praise leader responded to my question, “A Madera woman shared how she was encouraged.”
I felt God rebuking me. 
It shouldn’t matter  how others respond, I should just obey.

Who is the child now?
Who knows better?
I wish I could say I’ve learned to trust.
I’m back to that child stage where He tells me, “Do what I tell you. I have the plans.” 
Almost like the “get in the car” and don’t ask any questions command to my son.

Am I the child?
When it comes to my son, I must stand my ground. Not move. Nor argue. Don’t justify my decision. I'm still the parent, even if he does not wish to obey.
When it comes to God, I must submit to His authority. And just obey.

Child or Parent? Depends on who you talk to.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Displaying 1 comment

A lot to think about. Sometimes seems like my children are starting to become parents to me! Mom, you shouldn't do that, you shouldn't do this. It's almost funny since I remember being that way with my mom, though not until she was much older, maybe because I didn't live close to her like my kids do. It's just nice they care enough to want to take care of me during this difficult time.

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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