The prompt for this week is…
He’s in the throes of his first tantrum and it’s barely 7:30am. We sit on his Ikea bed and I wrap my arms around him while he flails and screams. He doesn’t like it when I use the human strait jacket on him so it makes him kick and scream even more. As calmly as I can, I tell him he has a choice. He can choose to start his day with a tantrum or he can choose to calm down and try to start over. Eventually he starts to tire and I loosen my hold on him. I watch him as he sobs on the bed, chest heaving, and I keep telling him to breathe. I repeat it like a mantra over him until he calms down and the sobs turn into a silent whimper. When reason again returns to him, I ask him to explain to me what’s wrong. Somehow we manage to reach a compromise and we both walk out back to the kitchen to finish breakfast.
I’ve noticed that both my husband and I do that a lot with CC. We present him with choices (sometimes too many) and we try to make him understand that by choosing an action he also chooses the consequences of that action. Everything we do is a choice. Even our not choosing is to choose the default. Maybe that’s too much to expect a 4-year-old to understand, but being an indecisive person myself, I’m determined to have my son not take after me. So I like to present him with options whenever I can – the dinosaur shirt or the Thomas shirt, mac and cheese for lunch or PB&J, etc. – and in situations where I make the choices for him, I try to explain to him why. This is all in hopes that he’ll grow up knowing how to make wise choices and that when it comes to big things, like choosing to follow the Lord, he’ll stand firm in his decision and not allow others to choose for him. I’m starting to realize more and more what a sacred responsibility has been entrusted to us as parents. We have the power to shape little souls, little vessels that can either be unto honor or unto dishonor, vessels that one day can be useful to the Master (2 Timothy 2:21). So as my little boy does the choosing, you can be sure that this mommy will be doing a lot of praying.