In Matthew 9, there is a story of a paralytic who is brought to Jesus for healing. What he received was forgiveness for his sins. In that moment, the paralytic was faced with God not meeting his expectations.
How often are we like this paralytic—coming before God with expectations that He wants to shift? We do not see the need to shift and become stuck in our expectations like the paralytic stuck on his beggar’s matt. We want people to come take care of us in our time of need because God didn’t answer our expectations. Our paralysis grows the longer we remain in this one spot.
We can avoid this kind of existence by living with humility; this is an understanding of our flaws and our dependence upon God. When we know that our own wants and desires are fallible, we are released to forgive the injustice we feel in our lives and walk forward into a new life. We hear God’s answer—His differing answer—and we are ready to receive it and walk in it. The result is a greater life than we thought we could have when we brought to Him our expectations.
These days, children are more aware of trends and fashion, and putting money aside to cater to their fashion needs helps children establish friendships and confidence. It is horrible for children to be ignored or tormented at school due to their out of style clothing. This ridicule opens children up to feelings of low esteem and rejection, the latter being the emotion that most people fear the most.
Although it isn’t right for children to reject and torment other children in this way, it is also not right for us as parents to walk in ignorance of the pressures that our children face today. We all want to be accepted and to feel good about ourselves. In this situation as with all other parenting dilemmas, balance is the key. You don’t want your child to be spoiled, but you also want them to know that you care about how they are treated and how they feel about their appearance.
Solomon writes in Proverbs 4:20–23, “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Solomon’s use of imagery in the description of the heart being “the springs of life” demonstrates an understanding of the interconnection of all parts of a person. The state of the inner man or heart affects us in so many ways. If the heart or inner man holds onto grievances, it can actually affect our thought processes and our physical body. One bad day then can lead to another bad day.
To therefore come back to the promises of God rather than dwell on grievances and hurt is far more beneficial for our lives.
Parents have personalities, strengths and weaknesses, which children really seem to magnify. I would get so angry when Dean would excite the boys and create chaos. While they would laugh hysterically I would feel like the outsider who only wrecked the fun. To me, the boys were destroying my order and honestly I found it really hard to allow such madness. I was one of three daughters with no brothers and was not used to the way boys interacted, played or released stress.
Also, I was jealous of the way they interacted and of Dean’s ability to engage them in that way. After thinking it over and discussing my feelings with Dean I realized that I wanted to have fun too and just wasn’t sure how to go about it. Dean was happy to oblige, and so I gradually joined their chaos while Dean took command at the end to make sure that order was restored. Boys like to tumble and physically wrestle. They like spurring each other on and having loud discussions. Boys like kissing mom on the nose and picking her off of the ground as they start to tower over her. They see dad do this and start to imitate the most important man in their lives.
When the boys were young, Barn loved to imitate Batman and Jake would be Robin. They would put their Sesame Street underpants on over their pants, tuck a belt in the elastic waist, and place a bike helmet on their heads and pencils in the helmet holes to create bat ears – a complete superhero outfit. They would then tuck a towel under their t-shirt neckband to use as a cape. Although the stores had Batman costumes that we could buy, the more exciting thing for them as children was to create and live out of their imaginations. Most children have strong fantasy worlds and vivid imaginations. They can create anything they put their minds to. Encouraging this kind of behavior not only helps them develop, but also creates an opportunity for family fun (and a chance for mom to take some hilarious, and perhaps embarrassing, pictures).