Monday, 19 May 2014

Screaming in Aldi

I know Aldi divides opinion. Some people (like me) love it. Others (like Ben) hate it. I appreciate his comments on the disorganisation of the store and the random way price tags are displayed, but my love of a bargain overcomes this!

However, the screaming in Meanwood Aldi, Leeds today was not connected to either of these. My nearly 2 year old son screamed for around 45 minutes as I did my shopping and queued to pay. "Let me go!" and "Get off me!" rang around the store after he refused to sit in the trolley and I held him to prevent him from removing items from the shelves and getting squashed under other trolleys - (because who knew, but Monday morning is the busiest time in Aldi?!). There was not much I could do. I had already completed at least half of the shop by the time this started and I needed the food for that day. The twins sat with their hands over their ears while he screamed and I'm suprised the rest of the shop didn't!

I would like to thank the many Aldi shoppers who commented to encourage me and to sharewith me that they had also experienced moments like these.'One of those days', 'You must be exhausted' (I was - I had wrestled with a 22 month old for 30 minutes while pushing a full trolley and twins around!), 'Do you need a hand?'  - I have not had a child melt down experience in a shop before (and I have had many!) where I felt so positive reinforced!

So why did I still feel embarrassed? Feel like how my child behaves is what other people judge me on? I'm sure that this is true - that other people do judge me on how my children behave. But whether people encourage me positively when my children misbehave, or behave with disapproval, or even just when they do neither but just have no idea what to do - I still end up feeling embarrassed and like I'd like to disappear into a hole in the ground! I can only conclude that it is myself that proclaims judgement on myself when I fail to have my children behave 'correctly'.

David in Psalm 3 manages to sleep despite his enemies (including his son) coming to hunt and kill him. He isn't anxious, even this doesn't keep him awake because 'the Lord sustains' him (v5). God is his 'shield, glory, and the lifter of his head'. And because of this he can leave anxiety behind.

I don't want to find glory in how my children behave, I don't want to pat myself on the back if they are perfect specimens of Aldi shoppers - and I don't want to break down in despair, embarrassment and guilt if my boy screams for 45 minutes in the aisles- or if my girls won't eat their tea, or if they frequently fight each other at nursery! I want to show grace and consistency to them because God has showed that to me - knowing that 'salvation belongs to the Lord' - not to people whose children don't scream in Aldi. In fact Jesus came to rescue both those who scream in Aldi and those who seek to keep them from screaming - we both need Him desperately.

'You don't have to be good at being good for God to love you. You just have to believe what Jesus has done and follow him. Because its not about trying, it's about trusting. It's not about rules, it's about Grace: God's free gift -that cost him everything' (Jesus Storybook Bible).