Home, A Strong Foundation

Upon all parents there rests the obligation of giving physical, mental, and spiritual instruction to their children.1 Yet, with all the business of today, parents struggle with this obligation. Without any effort on our part, the young child will find things to stimulate him intellectually; he’ll find things to do that keep him active physically. With a little effort on our part, he’ll receive some sort of spiritual instruction.

 

If our goal is to secure a well-balanced, symmetrical character for our children – a character fit for the kingdom of Heaven – then we need to take a deeper look at our parental obligations. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance--a work requiring earnest thought and prayer no less than patient, persevering effort.2

 

However, two-year olds are trying little people! Whining, tantrums, loud bursts of crying when upset – all are unnerving; especially to a peace-loving, quiet-craving mother. Just yesterday, little Lucy was at the lunch table enjoying an experience with tomato soup. I allowed her to experiment with several different spoons. I allowed her to experiment with learning how to crumble her crackers into the bowl of soup. I even allowed her to pour a ramekin of green peas into her soup. She enjoyed her lunch and ate cheerfully.

 

After lunch, though, I discovered that in her glee, she had slung her spoon a couple of times. It wasn’t a big mess, but there was tomato soup and crackers slung on the window and floor. Instantly, I became irritated: “She knows better than this!” Ahhh, but she is a two-year old and she was having fun while she ate.

 

I asked Lucy, firmly, to come see me. I showed her the mess and required her to wipe it up. Then, suddenly, I felt I was being too upset. I think the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me to settle down – it really wasn’t that big of a deal. In response, I helped her finish wiping the floor and window, spoke briefly to her about table manners and let the matter drop. Lucy went back to playing while I went to the kitchen sink to wash and reflect.

 

I want my daughter to enjoy mealtimes. I want her to readily eat the food placed in front of her. I want her to be willing to try new foods. I respect her tastes because I know they will change over time. I expect a mess, within reason, due to her developing skill level. We have regular conversations about table manners and not feeding the dogs “people food”. So what went wrong at lunchtime?

 

The problem was me. I was tired, a bit stressed and distracted. I was not patient. I was not persevering. I forgot, briefly, that my job as a mommy is to not only train my daughter, but to also refine that training as each day goes by. A right foundation must be laid, but then a strong and firm framework must also be erected; and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward.3

 

Thank you, God, that two-year olds are forgiving.

 

© 2010, C. Gillan Byrne
 

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Complete Published writings of EGW

Bible Gateway website for KJV

 
 

[1] White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 17, ¶2). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

2 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 17, ¶2). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

 

3 White, E. G. (1954/2002). Importance of the Home School (Chapter Title). In E. G. White Publications (Eds.), Child Guidance (p. 17, ¶2). Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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