Usually I think about me teaching my kids to do stuff or know stuff. The major one in the past year has been how to use the toilet for my twins - the jury's still out if this will be completely successful, but as I don't see twenty year olds in nappies, I'm sure they'll make it! Athol's working on walking, he's getting good at standing, but the first wobbly step is still eluding him - but it won't be long:)
My twins seem to drink in information - sometimes they just tell me things and I wonder how they have found that out. Or they ask questions like, "Mummy, how do I grow?" out of nowhere, which make me think that somewhere along the line I have just lost that wonderful inquisitiveness that the young have. I don't really think of learning things from them - but recently, when it's come to my own heart, my kids have been teaching me stuff that I've never really fully understood before.
My twins can both paddy like nobody else (if you're the parent of a 3 year old, then you'll probably be saying......'ah no.....not like my....'!). I have recently had several long drawn out battles about putting on clothes in the morning with them. It goes something along the lines of.....'You need to put your clothes on so we can go out'. One (or both, but thankfully usually one!) refuses because the colour isn't quite right, or she wanted to wear a different item or because she can't manage to put them on herself (- but accepting help from her Mum would just not be right). Then comes the long drawn out battle where I place her on the step until she's ready to get dressed and join me and her brother and sister.After a while she repents of being so stubborn and goes upstairs to get dressed. Until......the same problem happens again, it's not the right colour (although it is now the colour she wanted previously!), the trousers are too tight, or too loose, the pants just won't go on right........
I intervene to suggest (within reason) another item to wear, or to offer help, or as it becomes more prolonged, to explain we haven't got food for lunch, so we have to go to the shops - but on one occasion the cycle became more and more heated until I think she had said sorry and then fallen into hysterics at least 5 times.
I am thankful that after a few of these run ins the girls seem to have got the idea that getting dressed means the day can be more fun, that we can go out and do stuff, that actually Mum's idea of putting clothes on is a good one - but as I watched my daughter say sorry for shouting and screaming about clothes......and then 5 minutes later be doing just the same thing - I realised that this pattern of behaviour is exactly what happens between me and my Heavenly Father.
I've never seen it so clearly before - until it was modelled for me by a three year old! I want my own way in so many things in life, and when I don't get it I have a paddy with God. I mean, not shouting and screaming, I have been far too socialised for that - but I'm angry with Him for giving me certain challenges - or I question how He can ask me to love certain people - because it's just too hard. Again and again God shows me through His word, or through His people that my main problem is selfishness and pride and that I need Jesus to forgive me and bring me back into a relationship with him. Like me with my kids, he forgives me again and again, even though He knows that I will most definitely rebel again.
I do hate paddies, they're the worst. But they have taught me that my own heart is rebellious, that I over and over ask forgiveness for something from God and then go back and do it again. That picture of God loving me, sending Jesus to die for me - when He knew I would forget so easily what He did humbles me. He gives me new strength to face paddies with patience and love.