From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, says proverbs, and when each of my children have developed verbal skills I have found it discouraging for their mouths to reveal the sin I have always known to be present in theory, but had often denied in practice.
For about six months, the snickerdoodle has called her sister “Mo-Mo”, because that is what the Cheesdoodle calls her. And the cheesedoodle she calls “guys”, in the plural. Her “g”s come out as “d”s, so for awhile we thought she was calling him “dyes” which had us baffled. The discovery that she was calling him “guys” didn’t really enlighten us that much until this week.
I was walking down the hallway at church, my arms filled with the paraphernalia of Children’s ministry, and the paraphernalia of motherhood and the other random things of life. Behind me came the Cheesedoodle and the Snickerdoodle, dragging their feet like they were on their way to the gallows (instead of home for lunch as was the actual case.). I turned around, and said, as only an impatient mother can, “come on, guys! let’s go!” From her position behind her brother, the snickerdoodle chimed in, as only a self righteous sibling can, “Yah, Dyes. Wet’s doe! Uh’mon Dyes!” In her mind, exhortation and reprimand happen to someone else, and that someone else must be her brother.
There was a lightbulb moment as I looked back on past corrective moments. Hearing a general commotion in the toy room and calling back, “hey, guys. Be kind.” When the overall enjoying each other turns into screams of delight, I will often say, “ok, guys. That’s enough.” I mean “everyone six and under.” The snickerdoodle is apparently thinking, “you go, Mama. Get that brother under control!” Because a general “guys” couldn’t possibly include her!
It’s humbling to realize that I often read scripture the same way my toddler hears me. “That’s right, Moses. You tell those Israelites! Way to go, Jesus! Give it to the Pharisees! I’m with you, Paul. Those Corinthians are out of control! Uh’mon dyes, wet’s doe!” Another great disappointment in parenting is facing head on the reality that in my heart I am often just a tall two year old.
The Lord is at work! and One of the he ways He continues to work in me is to use my children as a mirror, reflecting where I have been, and where I have grown. My role as a parent is to show my children their sin, but encourage them that they don’t always have to stay that way. My hope is the same as the one to which I point all of my Doodles: If we are in Him, and He in us, then He who has begun a work in us will complete it. as I identify and rebuke my children’s sin, I say – not in the impatient tone of a hurrying mother, or in the self righteous tone of a bossy sibling, but in the encouraging tone of a guide who has seen a little further down the path – “Come on, guys. let’s go.”