A Student Not Above His Teacher A Child Not Above His Mom

A Student Not Above His Teacher
A Child Not Above His Mom

“Mom. Mo-oooooom! I’m hungry!” laments the four-year-old, tugging at the leg of your jeans. Glancing at the clock you realize this child ate no more than one hour ago. At the top of the trash can lie her peanut butter sandwich with one bite out of it, her untouched carrot sticks, and her apple slices that she carefully nibbled the middle out of to avoid the peel. These are all foods she loved a week ago but has since determined don’t quite suit her fancy.
Before you can even finish your thought your seven-year-old marches in requesting more video game time–even though he just had two hours uninterrupted. If only a stay-at-home mom could have this leisure! Your mind races with the thought of the toys scattered about the bedrooms, the overflowing hamper, and the nearly-empty refrigerator, only to be interrupted by the crying baby who needs a diaper change.

Temptation sneaks in to give the quick and easy solution. “Give in to their demands,” it coaxes. “You’re overstimulated, and you need a moment of quiet just to function.”

Fast forward to the end of the day. The kids are finally asleep, the house is tidy, and you can change into a shirt without other people’s bodily fluids or food on it. You have free reign of the remote and can eat your snacks without anyone demanding “Biiiite!” But in what feels like two minutes your show is over and it’s time for bed. You groan inwardly, “You deserve this. You’ve had a hard day. One more movie won’t hurt.” You soon check the time and realize it’s already 1:00 a.m., so you drag off to bed hoping the kids will sleep in so you can still get your eight hours.

Your third alarm of the day screams at you, and you try to shake off the grogginess from the lack of sleep and the bellyache from the pint of ice cream. You feel the pang of shame and regret that you didn’t stop sooner. “I shouldn’t have gone back for seconds.” “Why didn’t I stick to my bedtime?” You grab a cup or two of coffee and a donut, and you realize too late that you’d intended to start losing those extra pounds. You resolve to put that off until tomorrow (or Monday, or the fall, or the new year…) because right now you are just too stressed to deal.
So how does our own lack of discipline relate to your children’s constant demands? Luke 6:40 says, “A student is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” Being a parent means being trained and teaching those who come after you. Teachers give instruction not only explicitly–through the words they speak, but also implicitly–how they conduct their lives. If you are not satisfied with the time and good gifts God has given you each day, you can’t expect your children to exhibit the fruit of contentment either.

Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” How can we expect to drive the foolishness out of our children’s hearts if we still allow it to remain bound up in our own hearts? We can’t properly discipline them unless we discipline ourselves. This means being mindful of the ways we direct and lead our homes. It includes how we personally spend our time, money, and energy. Discipline is not just saying no to evil things but discerning what is best for us and our families.

Do not despair if you identify with the sins of the mom or the children in this story. God is gracious to us and will not allow us to wallow in our iniquities. Confess that you, like all of us, struggle with a particular sin (or multiple sins). Confess your sins to your husband and—as is appropriate—your children, and resolve to do better. Pray continually for self-control, and pay attention to the things you’re doing so you can resist temptations when they appear. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel from your pastors and elders not only for advice but also for additional prayer. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).

You’re not alone in your shortcomings. Speak to the Titus 2 women in your church. You might find they have been this mom too.
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