“No, Augy. I told you it’s time to go upstairs. Please go now.”
The end of the evening, my patience goes to bed long before my kids.
“Mom, I have…”
“What did I just say? If you’re not upstairs…”
Why can’t he just listen and obey the way we taught him. He’s done so well lately and now he won’t leave the dog alone and listen to me.
“Mom. I have Indiana’s dog bones. Just like you taught me to give him after I’ve played with him.”
And my heart sank. I stared at our 4 year old, and our black lab as he ate another treat from Augy’s hand, and realized in my impatience, my imperfection, my desire to have it done my way, I totally missed that our child was doing what I’d asked. For days, I’d reminded Augy that when he wanted to really “win over” our beloved canine, he needed to reward him with treats, goodies, and a long hug. Since they’d just finished playing when I decided it was quitting time for the day, I had no desire to wait around. He needed to listen. He needed to get upstairs, brush his teeth, and get in bed so we could snuggle with a book and prayers.
He needed to obey.
Only, he was obeying. Not only had our child remembered and obeyed what we instructed days before, he practiced it, right there in front of me, and I busied myself rushing ahead for him to obey the next direction before letting him complete the last one.
How often I’m rushed and harried, desiring to move full steam ahead in order to check another thing off a never-ending list of chores. In the process, I miss the check list in my child’s heart. The instruction and training and loving care Augy put into practice to do what we’d taught him nearly slid by without my acknowledgement. His body slumped when he thought I’d missed the reward he’d given our dog.
I realized it. And my body slumped, too. “If only I could see his heart,” I whispered to my husband.
Augy’s heart was good there. It obeyed and remembered our instruction and wanted to please and do the right thing. Even though he still needed to obey and move forward with bed time and listening to us, who am I to not recognize what our kid did in my rush to tucking-in and bed time books?
Oh for the grace to love with our eyes and hearts wide open. And the patience to hold on just a little while longer when it appears they forgot to use their ears. They just might have been listening to our words from a previous lesson and putting it into practice.
**Heather Ives is wife to Brandon, mom to Augustine, Tobias, and a set of twins debuting in early spring 2013, and is a homeschooling coffee crazed woman. She appreciates folded laundry, rainy days, and critters that stay outside. A former teacher for The Potter’s School (www.pottersschool.org), Heather enjoys writing and helping parents unlock the writer inside their own children. You can find her blogging about faith, small moments, and life as a Pastor-wife at www.heatherives.squarespace.
**Don’t forget to enter to win a bag of the new MOB Society coffee! We’re giving away one bag of Boysterous Brew today, and you can still enter to win it! Read this Boysterous Brew post to read how!