Before I became a parent, I was pretty sure that training and disciplining a child would be easy. My child would do A, I would calmly respond with a well-thought-out and right-on-target B, and I would get result C—cheerful obedience or successful completion of the task. For the more stubborn issues, the process might repeat itself once or twice.
I didn’t realize my kids wouldn’t always “get it” as soon as I thought they should.
Your kids probably don’t always understand or comply with your instructions the first time either. You know how frustrating it can be to remind a child to do a task he’s already forgotten (or resisted doing) several times or to have to repeatedly explain something before your child says, “Ohhhhhh, I get it.”
Jesus understands your need to explain yourself over and over because, although He didn’t have children, He had the disciples. And they required plenty of explanations and repetition for what they should have been able to understand sooner.
Check out what Jesus says in Luke 24:44 (ESV): “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” He had already told them He would be put to death then raised on the third day. But they didn’t really understand until Jesus said, “See? This is what I was talking about all those other times” (my paraphrase).
These 12 guys, Jesus’ chosen ones, didn’t always understand their Master the first time He said something. They couldn’t always do something the first time they tried (see Matthew 17:14-23). Yet despite the fact they were adults and might have been expected to know better, Jesus didn’t give up on them. He was willing to invest His life in them and even repeat Himself a few, or a million, times so that He could build men who would one day become the pillars of His church. Men who would become heroes of the faith.
Precious mom, as you rear your children, you, too, are building men or women who will one day become the pillars of Christ’s church.
That little boy who won’t stop throwing expensive things into the toilet? Someday, he may be a pillar of the church.
That little girl who still has to be reminded to wash her hands after she uses the potty? A beautiful pillar in the house of her God.
That older boy who can’t keep his room clean to save his life? One day, a hero of the faith.
Even little Peter, James and John probably had to be told a million times to shut that door. Even the apostle Paul, when he was a child, had to be taught to strap on his sandals. And yet these same kids who didn’t “get it” the first time or the 10th or 50th time went on to become heroes.
It doesn’t matter if your kids don’t look much like heroes today. God can make them heroes—mighty men and women who contend fearlessly for their faith and their God in the marketplace, in their homes and in their churches. He can take that child you devoutly hope won’t pick his or her nose during the school play and embarrass you, and turn him or her into a mighty warrior for His cause.
So when it seems like you’ve already told your children something a million times ... when it seems like a particular discipline problem will never get resolved ... when you wonder why your children just don’t get it, remember that someday, they probably will.
Someday, they just might be heroes.
Megan Breedlove is an author, blogger and stay-at-home mom with five children. Visit her website, Manna for Moms.