Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Hard to Listen If You're Not Hearing

I took M to the doctor this morning, and they are saying the “a” word – asthma. I was really hoping he’d be pronounced ‘all better’ this morning, but though he wasn’t wheezing, he isn’t better yet, either. We think it’s allergy related because he’s got fluid on his ears and failed a hearing test because of it. He just doesn’t seem to be able to drain those ears and sinuses like he should, and we’re off to see an ENT next week to see what’s next, and then probably an allergist. Poor guy.

And on the way home, I all of a sudden had a sinking in my heart and teared up and had to apologize to M when it occurred to me how much I’ve been getting on to him lately for not responding when I speak to him and how he jumps when I get frustrated and have to call him again. I’ve been giving him all these lectures about how he needs to listen better, and I realized today with that failed hearing test and looking back over all those confused reactions I’ve been getting from him the past few weeks that it probably isn’t that he’s been willfully ignoring me when I talk to him when his back is turned but that he really hasn’t been hearing me. I feel so guilty for the way I’ve handled that, assuming he was being willfully disobedient when he really wasn’t. Now I know.

This parenting job is hard. There’s a balance between putting into practice the ‘believes no evil’ (1 Corinthians 13) part of real love on one hand (I kind of had the intuition the other day that M wasn’t hearing me well enough and did back off on the lecturing, knowing I’d be asking the doctor today) and discerning when there is a willful disobedience which needs to be disciplined. In other words, you’ve got to get in there and know your kids and do the hard work of finding out what’s going on with them – addressing the heart issues, not just the outward behaviors. If I really want these kids to grow up knowing what Godly character is, then I can’t be lazy about parenting, I’ve got to have a goal in mind and be pointing them constantly in that direction and teaching them God's Word. It isn’t easy. And I pray God will lead me and guide me to be a wise mom and that His grace will cover my many failings.

You know, there's a spiritual analogy I can't help but draw this morning. It's pretty hard to obey God's Word if I'm not hearing it often and clearly. It's so important to read and know God's Word and to expose myself to good preaching by men who understand the importance of understanding the Word so that I can apply it well to my life - all areas of my life, but I'm especially thinking of how I parent the kids today. I can't pass on to my children what I don't know myself. As a mom, I've got to know what God has said in His Word and be living it out in front of the children, because they will 'hear' how I live even louder than they hear what I say. So I very much want to be living out what I am teaching them and praying that they will learn in their own lives. I pray that my hearing of God's Word will be often and clear and that I will listen and apply it, and I pray I'll be the kind of mother that He has called me to be and have the discernment to know how to recognize and properly address the heart issues so I can faithfully point them to Jesus.


Anonymous said...

I took my youngest son to the ENT yesterday for a couple of reasons, one being a hearing test. Turns out my child's hearing is just fine and dandy. He's just ignoring me. The doctor said it was just because he's male, to not take it too personally. HA!

Shawnda said...

So, so good! I'm so thankful for these little nuggets the Lord teaches us through our children and that we are all able to share them together! He's using you to preach to my soul today!!! : ) This parenting thing IS hard....the hardest thing I've ever done!!!! Thanks again for sharing, sister!

Elle said...

This is thoroughly convicting for me as well. I'm glad that a solution is on its way for M, and I appreciate your forthright demonstration of a humble apology to your child. May God give great blessing from even this trial.

Joyfull said...

Hope all goes well with your child, I understand your feelings of guilt over him not hearing you, but rejoice in the lesson from the Lord and encouragement as a mother for our children to "catch" our faith. Thanks for sharing.