My three year old is trying to learn his boundaries. Boundaries indirectly means “what can I get away with around certain people.” We try to be pretty consistent about what is expected and the consequences of not following direct instruction.
Instructions include: please do not push your sister down, please pick up your toys, hold my hand as we cross the street, please eat something besides Doritos or ice cream sandwiches, and when you are my age you will love taking naps so please close your eyes.
Did any of that sound foreign to you? Some days I wonder if I am speaking a different language or if we need to schedule an examination with a professional about his ability to hear my voice. The outcome of his rebellious behavior has translated into quite a few spankings. Yes, we do still believe in popping our children if it is warranted. Please don’t call DHR. If Grams (Amanda’s Mom) has felt the need to slap his back side you know it must’ve been deserving.
I’ve often thought if I were to practice reverse psychology, would this help? Push your sister down or don’t pick your toys up. This probably would not acquire the results that we are looking for. Regardless of how many times we have to reiterate our desire for him to follow even the simplest commands our love for him doesn’t change.
As a softball coach, we try not to use “do not” statements. For example, before an “at bat” I would not tell a kid “do not swing at a pitch in your eyes.” The result generally would be that the athlete would go into the batter’s box thinking so much about it that they can’t focus or end up doing it anyway.
When I was fifteen, I asked my brother to take his car for a spin on a few roads in the country near my grandparent’s house. I had been practicing with adult supervision and seemed to have everything down pat. There wouldn’t be much traffic out on a Sunday afternoon, twenty or so minutes from any incorporated towns.
His last words before tossing me the keys “Don’t wreck my car.”
Well, I had plenty of experience driving on paved surfaces, but basically none on the gravel freeways of the rural areas of South Alabama. Speed and the lack of experience resulted in his car sideways in a ditch. A tree stopped the momentum of the vehicle, otherwise I would have been picking cotton from the local crop out of my teeth for days.
This will tell my age, but cell phones were not prevalent at this time. I think my father had a bag phone in his vehicle. Google “bag phone” and look at the images if you aren’t familiar. So, I walked a little ways to the closest home and asked if I could use the phone. I talked the couple into calling my grandparents number and explaining the situation because I was scared to death of what the response would be.
We used a tractor to pull the car from the ditch and examined the damage. The vehicle was still operable but in need of significant repair. Up until this point, my brother had not said much. He asked if I was ok. I responded that I was fine and was extremely remorseful. His response which I remember after twenty years was, “we can replace the car, but not you, I’m just glad you are ok.”
Jesus Christ wants a genuine relationship with you. He knows what mistakes you will make before you even make them. He will also be there to scoop you up and encourage you when these mistakes happen. The Bible is full of stories where Jesus showed unfailing love to sinners. Even when you do something he has warned you about.