My Siah is four... Each age seems to bring different strengths and weaknesses. There are many things in his four year old life that I really love about him.
*He has a very tender heart that comes out in different ways. Often times, if he is within reach, he will gently stroke my arm when he talks to me about something that is important to him. At those times I try to be an extra good listener and do things like put my hand on his back and look right at him when he's telling me "all about it" so that he knows that I know that what he's saying is important to him and to me.
*He is growing more independent what seems like daily. For nearly two weeks now he has started each morning the same... On his own initiative he puts his plate in the sink, pushes in his chair, and says "thank you mom for my yummy breakfast." Then he goes up stairs, by himself, picks out his own clothes, gets dressed, brushes his teeth and makes his bed. I feel so proud of his independence.
*He's extremely inquisitive. He wants to know every last detail about EVERYTHING! He asks me questions all the time that he already knows the answers to.
*He talks about "time" all the time but he has no concept of time at all. He'll say things like, "Yesterday night day, we went to Texas, " when in reality we went there a month ago. But the cool thing is that he associates things with time, even if he is not using the correct time. But it's always funny to me to hear when things that we have done have happened in his mind.
*He is a natural leader. At this stage of the game his leadership skills seem to be coming out more in a bossy manner rather than in a healthy form of true Christ-like leadership. He is always telling the other kids what to do. Then when I exhort him to not be so bossy he says, "I"m the oldest and I supposed to be a good example, right Mom?" So each time I explain that the difference between being bossy and being an example, is word verses action. "Instead of telling the other kids what to do with your words, you can be a good example by showing them the right thing to do with your actions." I guarantee that this concept has NOT yet sunken in. :) But it's the beginning of something great, I just know it.
*He has a confidence about him (in fact all three of my treasures seem to have it). In church during worship, he dances so freely as if there weren't 200 sets of eyes all on him. He tells whoever is willing to listen all that's on his mind and just assumes that they are as interested in what he has to say, as he is in telling them. He has no trouble with me dropping him off at any classes or activities... he just walks right in.
And with all these strengths there are still things that we are working through with my little Siah.
*He currently loves to argue. It's the small stuff really that seems to trip him up. Like most things in parenting (and in life) there is a balance that needs to be found. I want him to feel like he can express things to me but in the same breath I need to be able to give an instruction without listening to a series of suggestions from his little mouth. So we have come up with a phrase that I find myself saying a zillion times a day... "obey first, explain later." In other words, do what I've asked of you, THEN open your mouth and tell me what you wanted to say. We've also memorized Philippians 2:14 "DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT ARGUING OR COMPLAINING." I find that it is true that the Word of God really does speak to the heart. When Siah is arguing with me, often times all I have to say is what does "D" say (they memorized this verse from that ABC verse book.) And once he says the verse out loud he often corrects his own behavior. It amazes me. :)
*Another struggle with Siah lately is the way that he has been treating his sisters. He'll do something nasty to them and then gloat about it. I tell him that the Bible defines that kind of behavior as "delighting in evil." And the famous 1 Corinthians 13 verse says, "Love DOES NOT delight in evil. And when you love someone, you willing choose to not get joy out of being a meany face towards them." Then he usually chooses to "Make it right" with his sister. I will confess that there are many days that even when we go through this process, five minutes later the same ugly behavior repeats itself. It really crushes my spirit to see Siah choose to treat his sisters that way. I don't really care about the behavior (although that too is important) as much as I care about what's going on in his heart. I'm sad that sin lives in all of us... even in my little treasure.
This week, in the midst of one of those many moments that I wrote about earlier this week when my children don't listen to me, I had a conversation with Siah that went like this...
Me holding back tears, "Siah, WHY are you choosing to not listen ("For like the thousandth time!" (I didn't say that, but I was SURE thinking it!) to your Mama?"
Siah genuinely looking at me and trying to understand his own behavior, "I just don't know Mama."
Me, no longer able to hold back the tears... "Sin Siah. It's sin. And it's in all of us, even in your Mama."
Looking back I now see how that moment with my Siah could have been a great opportunity to remind both him and myself about our great need for a Savior. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." I'm not sure what I was expecting when I became a parent of many small children. I know I never thought that they would be perfect. But I also never anticipated how their sins would effect my heart so deeply... how so often I see my own sin in them... and how deeply I feel love towards them despite their sin. If I, in my overwhelmingly human heart can feel such tremendous love towards my sinful treasures, how much more must the Father feel love towards me despite my sin. After all, when he looks at me, he sees his perfect Son.
I have been praying Ephesians 3:16-19 over my treasures for the past few weeks...
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
I feel as if I love my treasures deeply. But I know that in reality, my love barely scratches the surface in comparison to the one who IS Love!