(This post contains affiliate links)
Funny how something I’ve been reading and something I hear can come together into a new set of thoughts and even the beginning inklings of an adjustment in direction.
I recently finished Clay Clarkson’s Heartfelt Discipline (those of you who follow me on FB or Twitter may remember the quotes I posted) and have been thinking about the concept he brings out of discipline and training of children being so much more than behavior. In particular I’ve been thinking about being sympathetic towards the children and the important ways in which sympathy helps to give them a good foundation for feeling loved by me and the ways in which that strengthens our relationship and ultimately prepares them for their own relationship with the Lord.
I’ve been thinking about ways in which I need to change my reactions to their dramas and reactions, in order to understand where they are coming from (that little paper thing that the baby just tore may not seem like much to me but they spent time on it and valued it and I shouldn’t dismiss their emotion, although I do have a responsibility to teach them how to react appropriately). Too often I think I look at the thing they are upset about and from my adult perspective think “That’s not important” when from their perspective it is.
Anyway I’ve been thinking about these things and then yesterday the sermon was on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the way in which He comes alongside us and helps us keep moving. The preacher told a story of hiking in the mountains with a group of teens and needing to spend the hike encouraging and cajoling one particular boy to keep climbing. And I thought:
“Yes, this is how God works with us. He sets a task and then he comes right with us in doing the task. Not standing there saying “Hurry up, why aren’t you done yet?” but “Keep going. This is looking good, here this would be more efficient, hold the broom this way.”
And I thought too:
“This is how I’m to be with the children. Their parent yes, but also their companion and encourager. Like Christ who sympathizes with my weakness I need to sympathize with their’s and come along beside them to strengthen and encourage them.”
It’s a tall order, but I too have a paraclete and one who sympathizes with my weakness and grants grace!