We took the children out yesterday after being cooped up in the house because it was too hot to venture out in the middle of the day. We had some errands to run, but to the kids delight, stumbled upon an outdoor concert. The children were thrilled to dance, hop and skip to the music. They enjoyed chasing after bubbles and after each other until the large fountain caught their attention. Not only did the fountain strike their fancy, it was more so the children playing in the fountain that they were enamored by. They immediately wanted to go over to the fountain and check it out. Both my husband and I knew this was going to be a battle.
The two little ones were fine sitting by the fountain watching the streams of water jump from one side to the other. My oldest though, had something else in mind. He was determined to get in that fountain like a handful of other children had done. I told my son, “No, you are not going in, so wipe that thought out of your mind.” Before I could even give him an explanation of why I did not feel it was a good idea, the whining began. He even went so far as to pretend to accidently slide off the side of the fountain in order to get in. Finally, after taking away the ice cream that was promised at the end of the evening, we got him out of the fountain. “But Mom,” he pleaded, “all the other kids get to have fun in the fountain, and we CAN’T.”
“Fred,” we gently said (only by the grace of God, because at this point I was quite frustrated with him). Do you see that little baby over there?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“His diaper is about to explode in the fountain, and who knows what is in it.”
“Gross!” he exclaimed. “ You mean THAT could be in the fountain…why didn’t you tell me?!” He insisted that we scrub him down in the bathtub when we got home.
We found this to be such a great learning experience for Fred. In his mind, we were keeping him from having the time of his life, but in our eyes we had good intentions, knowing that he could actually get sick if we let him swim in the fountain. I should be happy I am only facing these trails right now…stepping stones in a sense. I am sure there will be a time down the road when he wants to attend a camping trip without supervision and will not be able to comprehend why we won’t let him go. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll remember the lesson at the fountain. I’ll be quick to remind him if not!
It is my feeling that our relationship with the Lord parallels our relationship with our children. It is so easy to get caught up in “the world” until that soft voice prompts us to “keep out.” We may even find ourselves asking, “Why?” Everyone else is doing it, and is having so much fun!” He has such wonderful plans for us, and knows what can harm us. We need to listen to our Heavenly Father, just as we expect our children to listen to us. HE knows what is best.
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him." Deuteronomy 30:19-20