Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Earning Good Things?

Have you ever noticed that when you have something fun planned for your children, they often act up? Please tell me it isn't just me!

One morning, we planned to go to the park to meet a friend of Emily's from ballet. They were horrible the whole time before we left and it made me wonder why I had wanted to plan something fun for them! I mean, really, who wants to put the effort into making the fun thing happen when there is disobedience and attitudes at work!?

But, then I had a realization - am I expecting them to EARN their fun? No, I'm really not. Isn't that the way I'm acting when I feel put out by how they are acting just because we have something planned? Yes - it really is.

Then, I thought of this ~ God does not expect me to earn good things from Him. He gives them freely in spite of how much I may or may not be deserving of them.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" ~ Luke 11:11-13
In reality, I think my senses are just heightened in these situations and that I am expecting them to be good because I have something good in store - they should be good because that is what God expects, not because they will get a reward for it!

Lord, when I plan fun things for my children - please adjust my sight to desire to give them something good regardless of how they are acting. And, please help me to teach and train them to obey and act according to Your Word whether they are rewarded or not.

Thank You for setting the example for us in giving us good things when we don't deserve them and enable me to show that kind of love to my children as well!

Amen.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8-9

20 comments:

Katy said...

yes yes....this happens to me as well. It can be so frustrating...but I like your new outlook on it! Thanks for giving me new eyes about it! :)

Anonymous said...

This happened to us when my boys were younger. I think that they get so excited about the activity that they do not know what to do with all the stored up energy...so they act up! What we did, which worked, was not tell them anything about the event until we were in the car, on the way to the event. If our boys asked questions while we were getting ready, we'd just tell them that we needed to go somewhere. if they asked where, we'd tell them we'd let them know soon. Hope this helps you!

Ruth, PA

Danielle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danielle said...

My kids do that too Monica...you are right in you comments about it!

Michelle said...

Yes, I've noticed the same things with my own children. And sometimes they will actually say to me "if we behave at the grocery store, can we stop for slurpees on the way home?" Looks like I've made the rewards-for-good-behavior mistake too often, instead of simply training them to behave whether they feel like it or not, and whether we're getting a treat or going right home after a boring expedition. Oops. Thanks for a great post on the subject! :)

Teachermom said...

Good post! I have noticed this in my children as well, and have been very frustrated when it happens. I like your reminder to parent our children like our heavenly Father parents us! :)

Stephenie said...

After nine years of mothering and five children, I had never thought of it this way. Thank you for your insight and encouragement in this area. I have struggled with this in the past and still do, but hopefully not anymore!

Anna said...

an excellent, encouraging, thought provoking post. Thanks!

mama k said...

yes. I actually think that it happens EVERYTIME I try to get him out the door. So when I'm doing something for him I tend to have less patience. Thought provoking post!

*carrie* said...

Pretty sure we can all relate. Thank you for sharing your insight and prayer. Love you!

Paige said...

I do not tell the boys when I have something planned for them. And when they are horrible and I cancel it, I tell them what they've missed out on. They say "if we knew we would have been good" and I say "you should be good because God wants you to be, not so you can get something in return". After a few episodes like this, it's amazing how their day to day tone has changed for the better. Maybe I'm doing this wrong, but that's how it is here in the Backyard gang house.
P~

Linda said...

I feel what you're saying.. however, I also do think that no matter what our intentions are, one way or the other, the kids still view it as a 'reward' to their naughty behaviour..

Much like how you shouldn't give a dog a cookie after he's done something bad. Perhaps when they're a little older, say 7 or 8.. they'd understand the two have nothing to do with eachother?

Still, if you have something planned, you have something planned ;) Some things just can't be cancelled.. but I would totally cancel a trip to the petting zoo when my daughter's throwing a fit just before.. hehe

greetings from holland!

Ruth said...

This is so true and frustrating for us. It is good to have the example of our Heavenly Father who still gives us good things when we "act up" and don't deserve them.
Ruth

Vintage Mommy said...

How blessed your children are to have a mama with a tender heart to discern this.

This is the Gospel in a nutshell, Monica!

Elise said...

I know how you feel. Sometimes I just want to say, "Forget it, we just won't go!!" Then I feel like that is punishment for me too, so we go.
I agree with what Katy said.
Elise

Jenn said...

You are such an insightful momma, what a blessing to your family! ;-)

Nancy @ Homemade Blessings said...

This was our day yesterday. We had been planning a "Back-To-School" trip to Chuck E Cheese for last night and the children had been counting down the days for a week. Then yesterday everyone was grumpy and not getting along and I was tempted to cancel the trip.

Thank you for the lesson - it is so true that the Lord does freely give to us all good things, and doesn't expect us to earn them.

Blessings,
Nancy

Lorie said...

What a great point! It is usually when they are acting up that they need positive attention!

Barbra said...

Dear Monica:
As an 'older' Momma with kiddos grown and Grandkiddo's now filling up the sweet corners of our nest, I paused over your posting tonight to reflect on the wisdom of Our Father. How he grows "us" through our daily Patience Lessons as children in their tender learning stages 'try us'! :o) Your faithful heart is such an encouragement to families Monica; I think there are few things sweeter than a Godly Mommy......
God Bless you and your wee Nest this night.......Barbra

Lisar said...

I don't have children myself, but I thank you for the reminder that we don't earn our salvation...that it has been freely given and that we as adults do what is "right" in God's eye's because we want to please him...Lisa