Saturday, May 26, 2012

Children, obey your parents

Ephesians 6:1-4 (NIV)

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” — which is the first commandment with a promise — “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
How could I resist the chance to share this passage? In fact, I think some day I’ll see if I can’t get the boys to memorize a few of these verses.

(And as I type, in the next room, I hear Max saying, “Hey, quit blocking the TV, idiot!”)

The word exasperate in the NIV translation amuses me, because I don’t feel I exasperate the kids so much as they exasperate me. The King James translation instructs fathers not to “provoke their children to wrath,” which probably is better advice for me personally. I know, from far too much experience, how quickly a situation with the kids can escalate. Sadly, more than once it’s been me escalating ahead of them, which should never be the case.

Sometimes when Jack and Max are pushing each others' buttons as quickly as possible, usually on weekend mornings, I find the best strategy is to disappear into a task, such as washing the dishes, sorting laundry or vacuuming one of our giant, regenerating piles of food crumbs. Usually the situation resolves itself. However, if things do continue to get worse and I have to intervene, chances are I’m calmer than I would have been had I jumped in at the outset, and also I’ve made sure I’m responding to an actual problem instead of just kids being kids. And one of the benefits of having all these children around is there’s always dishes to wash, laundry to process or messes to clean.

We’re hitting the road today to celebrate Kristie’s brother and his high school graduation, which I’m sure I’ll touch on more in Sunday’s post. But as such, I really ought to be gathering toiletries, packing the suitcase and doing all those other things good dads do so we can get in the car before Charlie falls asleep at home. But before I go, I wanted to also spotlight verse 18 from the same chapter of Ephesians I cited above: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

A prayer for May 26:

Lord, again I thank you for my family. Not just my children, whom I hope to bring up in your love, but also my parents, who did so with me. Please be with us as we travel today, keeping us safe on the road but also granting us all the patience to stay in close quarters and attend important functions with minimal disruption. Please help us celebrate Uncle Kyle’s achievement and enjoy this time with our dear relatives. Amen.

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