Thursday, March 6, 2014

We all throw fits

The other night I just stood in the hallway while Addy sat on the bathroom floor throwing a big old-fashioned fit.
Everything had been fine.  We were getting ready for bed.  We changed into pajamas and brushed teeth.  Then, just like every other night, it was time to sit on the potty (that's mommy talk for "use the restroom").
But, apparently, that was not fine.  It was over.
She did not want me.  She didn't want to go potty.  She didn't want me to talk to her.  She didn't want to stay in the bathroom.
She threw a big, fat fit.
And yes, I know, she's almost 3, and it's the age.  I understand.  And I'm not complaining about it.

So, I let her sit on the floor and throw her fit while I shut the door (not all the way...she has a tendency to lock doors) and just stood in the hallway.
Every couple of minutes I opened the door and asked if she was ready to sit on the potty.  And every time she just yelled, "No!!"
"Well okay, you just sit in there by yourself."
As you probably can guess, this is not the first time she's thrown a fit.  And, she is not the first child I've dealt with who's thrown a fit.

And in the past, I would usually try to calm her down, talk to her, reason with her, distract her, whatever. But lately, I've just been letting it happen, and waiting for the end.
And when the end comes, that's when I do the calming and the talking and the reasoning.
Most of the time it goes something like this:  "Was that fun to sit there and throw a fit?  Do you like acting like that?  Do you think anyone else enjoys hearing you cry and scream because you're mad?"  And if it's Izzy, our almost 5 year old, then I'll add in, "Now what would be a better way to act in this situation?" And we talk about it.
And when we talk about it, that's when I do the loving and forgiving.  And Addy does some forgiving too...she's so funny.  She'll say, "Sorry."  And I'll say, "It's okay.  I forgive you."  Then she'll say, "I forgive you, too."  Kids.

But I was thinking, how many times have I done the exact same thing Addy has done (she doesn't take after me or anything...)?  Am I the only adult who has thrown a fit because I didn't get my way?  Or thrown myself a pity party?  Or gotten angry, given the silent treatment, lashed out, been rude, been dishonest, been ungrateful, etc.?
How does it make us feel?  In my experience, not good.  Well okay, pretty downright crappy.
And when we act like that, what does God do?  I'm guessing he just sits there and watches.  And waits for the end.  And waits for us to realize how unnecessary and stupid and immature and unloving we were acting.
When we calm down and come to our senses, a lot of times we feel a sense of guilt for acting or behaving the way we did.  And the guilt makes it difficult to understand God's love for us and the fact that he has already forgiven us.
There's a difference between us and kids.  I'm not so sure they feel guilty.  At some point they'll develop the sense of guilt, but not when they're this little.
When they're this young, they just accept it.  They accept your love, your forgiveness, your mercy.  And then they move on.  It's inevitable that they're going to mess up; they're kids!
It's inevitable that we're going to mess up; we're human.
When children are this young, as parents, we have no trouble loving and forgiving and showing them mercy when they mess up.  And we hope that next time, they'll act differently.  Well, it probably won't happen the next time, but one of these days we hope it will click.
Does God have trouble loving and forgiving and showing us mercy when we mess up?  I don't think so.  He is our Father.  He will always love us.  There's no need to feel guilty.
Like a child, we just need to accept his forgiveness and love, and then move on.
Then, maybe one of these days, it will click.

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