“Dad, it’s raining outside. I don’t want to rake now.”
“Mom, this book is so boring. Do I really have to read it?”
It seems several times a week (OK, maybe several times a day!) I am faced with one of the more unpleasant tasks of mothering. My kids see it as “pain infliction,” but I’m not talking about spanking.
I don’t want my kids to be truant in the school of hard knocks. I don’t want to let them avoid discomfort just because a task requires hard work, endurance or self-control.
I want to prepare them to take their proper place as mature believers who will rule and reign as God’s ambassadors on the earth. Sometimes, suffering and sacrifice are just part of their education.
Doesn’t sound much like the sweet, American dream childhood of joy, laughter and pleasure, does it?
But I find myself in conflict. Like every mama, I want my kids to have a happy childhood. So how can I ensure that they will not wind up as overgrown babies, too soft and immature to be any use to themselves or God?
That inner-mommy conflict used to drive me to the point of confusion and fear. Then I discovered that something about my inner vision of achieving a “happy childhood” for my kids was flawed.
Pleasure is not the goal of life. God did not send my kids to this earth just to have “a good and fun life.” That’s silly! They were birthed forth with far higher destinies and callings!
God placed in each one of them an assignment that, when recognized and followed, will yield for them deeper joy, excitement and peace in His presence than any “vacation lifestyle” could provide.
So my job as a mama? To raise up warriors in the kingdom, not wimps! Wow, was that ever both a liberating and challenging discovery.
Does the military send new recruits to a resort to get them ready for warfare? I don’t think so.
Now I am not advocating becoming a maternal drill sergeant who shaves everyone’s head and issues a family uniform! But I am calling us Frontline moms to grab some backbone when our kids need us to be strong.
Don’t give in to the myth that children will melt if they get a few raindrops on their heads when they need to clean up the yard and the weather is not ideal.
Don’t let your kids reduce you to a short order cook, catering to everyone’s taste buds and whims.
Don’t let Sally quit the basketball team just because she has to break a sweat and the girls laughed at her hair doodad at the last game.
If you homeschool, don’t let Johnny change curriculum every time he doesn’t feel like writing out whole sentences.
Life’s tough. We need to be tougher.
I like to ask myself this question: Ten years from now, would I want my children to respond to this adversity the same way I am teaching them to respond today?
Do I want my son to treat his wife the way he treats me when I make a casserole that is not his favorite?
Do I want my daughter to pout and cry to her own kids when she has a bad hair day and her husband speaks to her grumpily?
Do I want my son to drop an expensive college class just because he doesn’t like the teacher’s assignments?
Soft kids…no! For as Carmen sang in the 80s “Wimpy saints won’t survive in spiritual warfare!”