Sunday, July 31, 2016

Naptime Epiphany

Image Credit: peasap
(I found this draft languishing on my blog dashboard and felt it needed to see the light. I wrote this about a year ago)

My two year old has (normal) autonomy issues. He only wants to do what he wants to do, and does not want anyone telling him what to do. To illustrate this point, today I told him it was time to go read in the rocking chair. He had a full on meltdown complete with kicking and screaming.

"I know it's really hard to do things that you don't want to do. But it's time for us to sit quietly and read."

kick-scream-tantrum "Le-GO! Le-GO!"

"If I let you go it will be to put you in your crib so that you can fall asleep on your own. Should I put you in your crib?"

kick-scream-tantrum "Le-GO! Le-GO!"

"Okay" I put him in his crib. "I will be right here in the rocking chair ready to hold you when you want to sit quietly." I sat down on the rocking chair next to his crib and watched as he turned beet red and tried furiously to climb out of his crib. I could tell when he realized his attempts were futile, and used the moment to offer my help.

"Would you like me to help you?"


"Would you like me to hold you?"


"I could help you get out and I could hold you in the rocking chair."

Him: "Hold you?"

So I picked him up and he snuggled right down in my arms in the rocking chair, apparently convinced that snuggling with mom in the rocking chair was better than attempting to get out of his crib while turning red in the face and screaming.

Four verses of I am a Child of God later, and he was almost out. And I felt a little wiser, because I had an epiphany.

Just as I, as a mother, did not force anything on my sweet, innocent two year old, and I did not punish him for not wanting to take a nap, Heavenly Father does not force His will on us, and He does not punish us for not abiding by His will. At the same time, He does not shield us from the natural consequences of our stubbornness and pride. He sits quietly by and waits for us to realize that our way is not ideal, so that He can quietly say, "Would you like me to help you? Would you like me to hold you?"

He wants us to want His way. He wants us to decide, on our own, that His way is better than our way (even though He has told us before). But He doesn't force us, and He doesn't punish us. He just waits for us to come around, face our fears and give up our pride so that He can bless us and give us peace.

How often do you, like a toddler, scream red-faced trying to get out of your prison? How have you learned to accept God's will and want it for yourself?

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