No, You Can’t It’s Your Birthday


Usually the first word learned by a developing child. I know it ranked high on my son’s list when he started talked, but I can’t remember his exact first word.

At four-years of age, he is quick to say it but hates to hear it. “No,” I don’t want to get pajamas on. “No,” I don’t want to try the cooked broccoli. “No,” I don’t want to leave the park. He clearly states his boundaries. I like a guy who knows what he wants.

But when I say, “no” you can’t use the handle of that toy to continuously slap the couch, there is an outrage as if he injured a limb. “No,” you can’t sit balanced precariously on the armrests of two dining-room chairs. “No,” you can’t stay up past 10 p.m. just because it is your birthday. It’s as if I said chocolate no longer exists.

My personality is to people-please, so it’s taken me a while to get over the fact that there are points in parenthood when you are hated. Really hated. The you’re-never-going-to-play-with-me-again kind of hated. It’s almost like I don’t remember my teen years (especially blurry near the end).

My four-year old is like a three-and-a-half foot teenager purposely pushing my buttons just to watch my blood pressure go up. Lord, help me. And He does, usually in the form of a generous compliment or a hug from my son.

If I compare my relationship with God, its easier for me to say no. I’m able to cut off the playtime boundaries and end it when I remain with Him. After all, God doesn’t give me everything I want like some spoiled little brat. May I have a new car? Can I pour myself into my job and make big money while traveling the world with my family?

My personal experience boils down to why do I want these things. If I want a new car simply for vanity, God isn’t going to grant my wish. If I ask for a larger car to support my growing family at His will, maybe that’s a different story.

The verse from Luke 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” reminds me that I should listen to my son.

So my son asks to play for an extra 10 minutes in the morning before heading to work pre-school. Okay, I don’t have an early meeting, so “yes.” I want to teach him not to rush. Or maybe he can bring the toy along in the car and play as we drive to school.

Really, it boils down to what does God what to teach us because when I think about the things I want to teach my son–perseverance, patience and to relax for example–He wants these same things for my son.

But my question to you is how do I go about balancing my sons requests with what I feel he should be learning?


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