My children thrive in routine. For us, that means after a weekend full of irregularity, Mondays are always full of madness. It seems that on Mondays, more than any other day of the week, my children need constant correction. And this on a day when I’m trying to get my house back in order from the same busy weekend, can often make for some explosions as my kids interrupt the plan I have for making my own little kingdom tidy again.
Have you ever noticed in Scripture, just how often Jesus had to correct his disciples? Oh, how I am so much like them! My children’s constant correction, amplified on Mondays, reminds me of the constant correction from Jesus that I am in need of. In one of my favorite parenting quotes of all times, JC Ryles captures this idea perfectly with a phrase “Little Blows.” Jesus was continually giving his disciples (and us!) “Little Blows” with the utmost patience, gentleness, and kindness, all with the aim of pulling their hearts away from their own self-serving kingdoms and pointing them toward God’s Kingdom.
On this Mad Monday, may we be reminded of God’s kindness that leads to repentance, and praise Him for the patience he shows us. And may we, out of a heart of gratitude, demonstrate this love and patience to our children!
“Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct! Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys—these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily—these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.
Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment. We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good. They are like young plants, and need gentle watering—often, but little at a time.
We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are—and teach them as they are able to bear. Their minds are like a lump of metal—not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their understandings are like narrow-necked vessels—we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost. ‘Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,’ must be our rule. The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done.”
- JC Ryle, The Duties of Parents