Generally, I won’t be your go-to girl for parenting advice. My shortcomings in mothering help confirm that if there is ever an area I should not try to “teach” about it is about how to raise children. Trust me, this isn’t false modesty.
I am so grateful for the various “go-to” folks around me, as well as those who have written insightful books or given helpful teachings on the topic. And while I am hesitant to critique parenting counsel coming from a Christian source, I find it important to be discriminating about which counsel to heed and apply. Last week I read a Q & A where the counselor answered a question concerning a chronically discontent 9 year old son (prone to grumbling, complaining, always wanting something more), by seeking to persuade the mother that returning to a better time when children had meaningful hard work was the answer to her son’s problem. There is a measure of truth here, but still – I got to thinking…
One of my children in particular sounds a bit like the son described in the Q & A. This is the child who on the way home from two hours at Chuck E. Cheese will ask if we are now going to get ice-cream. He tends to want the latest and greatest Lego ship, Bionicle, Attack-tics, etc. He gets bored, and with a built in playgroup (two brothers in his age group). It’s not that the others don’t struggle with these things, it’s just that he is amazingly persistent and vocal about it. Of course, were he to obtain the object of his desires, the novelty would be gone in mere days. My husband and I have sought to deal with this area in my son’s life by emphasizing the cultivation of contentment and gratitude. And believe me when I say that his struggles are extremely familiar to me.
But there is something else to see in my child’s heart. Maybe the fact that he isn’t easily satisfied could work to his benefit. We have heard the C.S Lewis quote that says something to the effect that the problem is that we are too easily satisfied with inferior pleasures. So a child who isn’t easily satisfied with Chuck E. Cheese, legos, etc. is perhaps better postured to see his hungry soul’s need for satisfaction in God. Perhaps this child’s capacity to worship is a bit greater than others…it’s the object of this passionate worship that must be addressed.
So as I attempt to shepherd my child’s heart through his cravings that seem insatiable, it is important that I direct Him to the all-satisfying One. If I only deal with this child’s ingratitude and discontent, I might miss the opportunity to direct his desires to be satisfied in Christ. Am I showing Him this beautiful, all-satisfying God? Am I thinking throughout the day when my heart is stirred about the character of God, to share this with my kids? I want them to see Him. I want them to behold His glory in His word, and also in the midst of life. How I long for all of my children to be captivated by the glory of God and live their lives in worship to Him. I want to pray that God will do what only He can do: open my children’s eyes to see Him, to see the all-satisfying beauty of the Savior. My heart burns for this. When I look with eyes of faith at this boy of mine, I don’t just see the discontent and ingratitude that needs to be addressed, I see the hungry heart of a future worship leader.