Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday Brunch: Great Expectations

At a recent playgroup, the kids sat around a small table for a snack. One of the mothers put Peter in a chair, where he happily nibbled on a cookie.

I didn’t know Peter was ready for that. Not the cookie, that is, but the chair. I’d never tried it, since I pictured him flailing off the side or climbing on the table. Yet there he sat, calm as could be, as if he sat in a chair every day.

Maybe it’s a first-time mom thing, but I’ve always had trouble gauging Peter’s abilities. I’m just as quick to expect too much of him. When he wasn’t playing with his toys at 8 weeks old, I was nervous. Then I saw a normally-sized infant of the same age, and I understood: Peter could fill out a 6-9 month sleeper, but he was still a newborn.

Why does this matter? Discipline. When my 14-month-old goes to the forbidden drawer ten times in one hour, melts down for the fourth time in one day, and refuses to come when I call his name, I find myself asking whether I’ve asked too much… or not enough. A toddler’s life is one of temptation, and it’s my job to filter those temptations and to know when he’s crossed the line.

I want to parent like my heavenly Father, who respects me enough to expect my obedience—yet who also doesn’t allow me to be tempted beyond my abilities. As Paul says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Corinthians 10:13).

Am I doing the same for Peter?

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