My latest bit of parenting wisdom has come from Mr T, with his catch phrase: “I pity the fool!” And also Scripture.
Let me explain why.
We know what it’s like dealing with a young child throwing a temper tantrum.
Screaming, kicking, door slamming. My temptation is to respond with some serious discipline: to show who’s the BOSS.
Don’t get me wrong, Scripture calls us to patiently discipline our children. But so often my discipline is fuelled by anger. In my heart, I’m having my own temper tantrum that my toddler isn’t listening to me.
Truth is, our young children often don’t know how to control – or even understand – the emotions they’re experiencing. They’re just riding a wild wave, with no anchor. And it’s not going to end well.
I think this is where Mr T and pity comes in. Oh, and Scripture too.
In Psalm 103, we’re told, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For he knows our frame. He remembers we are dust.”
God’s attitude to the frailty and sin of his people is not a crushing – “I’ll show you who’s boss” – response.
He looks at us and feels pity: that we’re enslaved by our own sin and emotions, with no real power to resist. “I pity that fool.”
So, this week, as the tantrums arrive – the volume gets louder, the violence gets greater – let’s remember the pity the Father shows us. And pass it on to our children.
I find this so hard to do. I’m sure you do too. So, I’ll be praying.
PS – returning to lock-down sucks. If you’re looking for some more oomph to help you engage your children during Sunday broadcasts, re-watch this interview we did with Ed Drew (from Faith in Kids) back in June. Click here. It’s 8 minutes.