Once upon a time I was a young mother trying to be so much more perfect than anyone should ever claim to be.
Parents magazine was my role model, the parenting gospel lighting my way to the art of time-outs, negotiating realistic expectations and learning not to overreact to tantrums.
Specifically, before shopping excursions I’d make sure my toddler understood that as long as our shopping trip goes well my toddler would be rewarded, and if not, we put back her treasures and leave immediately.
Unfortunately, the magazine never told me what to do when Jesus interferes with my awesome parenting skills.
I know when Jesus enters the room I’m suppose to defer to his authority but I prefer to work as a team. And I find it very difficult to defer when Jesus decides to humble me through a red-faced screaming toddler in a store full of judges.
Besides, parents are supposed to teach their children, not be disciplined by them, especially in public.
Honestly why do we send children to Sunday school? We arm them with scripture and it is never cute when they expose our sins in front of a crowd. The Bible turns everything upside down and inside out! Have you ever wrestled with the Bible or Jesus in front of an audience?
Jesus graced me with many humbling parental moments. So as you may have already guessed, I took my daughter shopping. We were doing really good until we got to the back of the store with a completely full cart and she suddenly came down with the ‘I need, I want, I HAVE to have…’ tantrum of all tantrums.
I reminded her of our deal but that just caused her to scream harder and start rocking the cart. Being the awesome parent, I put back all her stuff. It was a miracle. Her crying slowed, but she wasn’t any quieter. She began begging me to stop and kept repeating ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!’ But we made a deal. I couldn’t leave immediately because the cart was full. I had to suffer through and make my purchases.
Halfway to the front of the store, she began to LOUDLY preach, “I said I was sorry! YOU have to forgive me! I said I was sorry! Mommy, I’m sorry! FORGIVE me! Are YOU LISTENING? I said I’m sorry!…”
I quickened my pace.
When we got to the cashier, she was beating me with the Bible that I foolishly armed her with since birth! (not literally)
“The Bible says to forgive! I said I was sorry! You have to do what the Bible says! Even JESUS forgives! You have to forgive me! God is going to be mad at you! Even Jesus forgives! Forgive me mommy!”
The cashier was no help! She exclaims, ‘Preach it sister!’
If looks could kill, I would have hit that cashier with a million lightning bolts.
I calmly told my daughter and the cashier that I wasn’t Jesus, I do forgive her but we had a deal!
And I left the store with all my newly purchased things I didn’t need or have to have! Sadly I’d been swallowed by the beast of impulse shopping!
My daughter loves when I share that story! I wonder why?
Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Obviously I brought her up in the training and instruction of the Lord, AND the filled to the brim cart screams I also set very unrealistic patience expectations of a toddler, thus exasperating my child. Parenting is such a work in progress!
While I didn’t appreciate the lesson, I pray others may learn from my bible-wise daughter and teachable moment.