How many times a day do I say it?
“Su take your fingers out of your mouth.”
“W talk in a low voice, stop whining.”
“F stop jumping on the furniture.”
“Are you being kind?”
” Think before you just jump into something.”
And on and on….
Sometimes I get frustrated. “Am I talking to you or to the wall?” I asked one of them the other day, “Can you just listen and do what I ask?”
Yesterday’s reading from Ezekiel addressed just this situation. God tells the prophet Ezekiel right up front “Go be a prophet to my people, they won’t listen, but they’ll know that I sent a prophet.” How discouraging to know that you were being sent on a mission that wouldn’t be successful. The Israelites wouldn’t repent, they would still go into captivity and Ezekiel would have endured all he did and done all those crazy things like lying on one side and eating bread cooked over dung for no reason! Wait though- is the prophet responsible for the people’s response to his message? No! He is only responsible to faithfully do what he has been called to do.
So too with us in our callings. We are called to speak and live the gospel in all of it’s life-changing goodness to and for our families and the world. As mothers and fathers we are to speak of the things of God constantly and live those precepts consistently and persistently. God is the one who will help our children to accept the truth. We are not responsible for their reactions beyond being careful not to put a hinderance in the way of the Holy Spirit. We are to be faithful in parenting regardless of how futile it may seem and trust that He will work out what is best for each child in the time frame that is best.
All those things that we say again and again are not futile, they are building a consistent foundation for the Holy Spirit to use as he sees fit, and we are not to worry about the outcome but continue to faithfully speak the word.