My son is four years old. I suppose it goes without saying that he has his grumpy moments. Sometimes I wonder how old a person is before he or she realizes that the solution to being tired or hungry or hot or whatever is to sleep or eat or sit by the AC or whatever. At this point my son thinks the solution to these natural problems is to turn into a complete jerk.
Today he spent a lot of time growling at me and his mama.
Sorrow and Shame
When we got the mail today in the IWU student center he asked to carry it. I was happy to let him participate and feel important by carrying the mail, but I asked him to wait so I could sort through it first. He threw a little growl-fest (i.e. tantrum) as a result of not getting what he wanted.
As I normally do, I got down on his level and talked to him about his actions. I explained why I wouldn’t put up with him talking to me like that. I explained again why I wasn’t giving him the mail right away. I told him he could carry it if he wanted still wanted to in a minute.
Then, as I normally do, I asked him to say, “sorry.”
He did say, “sorry, Papa” …but he looked away from me as he said it.
He usually does this, and I had him repeat it while looking at me, as I usually do.
After three tries he kept his face directed at my face, but he still looked away with his eyes.
I don’t think he’s ever made eye contact while apologizing.
Today, for the first time, I tried something else.
When I realized he wouldn’t hold my gaze when apologizing, I asked him to look at me and say, “I love you.”
He did it immediately.
“I love you, Papa”
What About Us?
He wouldn’t face me in his sorrow and shame, but he freely came when I asked him to tell me of his love.
This got me thinking, how do we respond to our True and Heavenly Father?
Can you face Him in your sorrow and shame?
Will you go to Him with your love, despite your imperfections?
I believe I need to teach my son that I will accept him in his sorrow and shame. That’s why I want him to look at my face when he’s sorry.
But I really want him to know I’ll love him no matter what, even if he can’t look me in the eye.
Can you look at the face of your Father when you’re weighted down with sorrow and shame?
Can you love him despite the weight of recent disobedience?
How do you picture Him calling to you when you feel tired, hungry, uncomfortable, and grumpy?
Christ didn’t ask Peter to apologize for his betrayal, He asked Peter if he loved Him.