Jump Start # 2576
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.”
I heard a report recently that was very disturbing and sad. More children have gone to the hospital recently because of abuse than because of the Coronavirus. With everyone at home, the walls of the house seem to be closing in. Parents, rather than being at work, are around the kids all day. The children are not in school. We can’t send them to Bible class. They are around us, on top of us, all the time. And, what I’m sensing is that parents are needing a break from their own kids.
This brings us to our verse today. It is found in a setting in which brethren weren’t getting along with each other. The wonderful blessing of spiritual gifts have led to strife, jealousy and pulling apart, rather than coming together. So, in the midst of three chapters addressing spiritual gifts, Paul reminds us of Biblical love. This is not a feeling or an emotion. This is a choice. This is an attitude. This is not based upon how the other person is behaving. This is not reactionary. Love, he begins, is patient and then, love is kind.
We need patience among brethren, and we need patience in the home. Let’s look at the home. Little ones can ask a thousand questions a minute. They don’t even wait for an answer before they are firing off the next series of questions. Patience is something that most little ones do not have. In their world, five minutes is forty hours. And, when they run out of patience, they let everyone everywhere know it. And, my bootstrap psychology leads me to think that this is where a lot of abuse takes place. Parents run out of patience with little ones who have no patience. We get frustrated. We get tired of being interrupted. We’d like a moment alone.
And, when we’ve run out patience, we too often say and do things that are not the best. We plop a child in front of the TV for hours on end, letting the TV parent and mold our child. We shout and scream and somehow try to reason with a child, forgetting that reason isn’t high on a child’s list of virtues. And, in extreme cases, we hit, smack and abuse the child. We lose control.
It’s easy to place the blame on the children. But, they are children. They are going think like a child, reason as a child and do childish things. They know how to push buttons, both on everything electronic and on you personally. They have an attention span that lasts about as long as a commercial on TV. The time and trouble it takes for you to get out a game and set it up, by then they are bored and ready to move on to something else.
The real issue here, as we look into this concept of love, is how do we get patience. You pray for patience. The Lord doesn’t sprinkle it upon you while you sleep, like pixie dust. You develop patience by going through stressful and trying times. So, when you pray for patience, you may find the answer is a tough day ahead of you.
Now, it’s been a while since I had kids in the home. All of my children are in their 30’s and they all have their children now. I never went through a situation like we are having now. None of us have. But let me share some suggestions that I hope will help:
First, live one day at a time. Some days will be better than others. Some days you will be more patient than others. Some days the kids will obey, behave and get along together better than other days. Just focus upon today. I think it would be helpful to contact other young parents in the congregation. Share ideas. Help each other with suggestions and things to do.
Second, keeping up with a schedule gives everyone a sense of structure, order and peace. So, write out a schedule for the week. Put in some activities, school work, Bible classes time, cleaning, and even quiet time. Having that all planned out, and even posted where they can see it will keep everyone focused. During quiet time, have them look at books, color, take a nap. We used to have moments at home when we told the kids we were being Amish for a while. If it turned on, plugged in, or used batteries, they couldn’t use it. They had to use their indignations. They had to read. They had to be quiet. It’s during these quiet times that mom needs to lay down, get some coffee, or just rest her mind for a few moments. This gives you some breaks and a time to chill out.
Third, as the weather gets nicer, take the kids outdoors. Go exploring in your backyard. Look at leaves, bugs, rocks and things like that. Great teaching time. Great time to have them find things. At night, go out and look at the stars and the moon. Talk about the universe God made. You’ll find yourself merging education, exploration, imagination and Bible lessons all together and all at the same time.
Fourth, it’s ok to let the kids have some TV time or video game time. Set time limits. Allow the little ones to take turns picking out a family movie to watch each night. And, yes, you’ll probably watch Frozen 2 a dozen times, but that’s ok. Put a blanket on the floor, get some popcorn, build a tent, make it an adventure.
Fifth, have the little ones make some projects. Have them draw pictures and mail them to special people or even their friends in the congregation. Use your time at home to teach them how to cook, how to sew, how to play an instrument. So many wonderful ideas that you can spend your day doing.
Finally, pray. Pray for strength. Pray that you will be the parent that God wants. Someday we will be back to normal. Back to work and back to school. This will all be a fading memory. But for the little ones, they may always remember that one Spring when everyone was together at home every day. God has blessed you with these sweet children. God has granted you the honor of raising them. You won’t have them long. Use this time for their benefit.
Love is patient…love is kind. Just remember that!