How do I know that we are born with a sinful nature? I look at my three beautiful angels, ages 7, 6, and 4. I know… harsh, right? Maybe. But it’s true. Although my three innocent and uniformed children are the apples of my eye, I never have to teach them to act badly.
“Gracie took my Barbie!”
“Well, Anna took my horsey!”
The eldest, the only boy, pipes in, “I saw Gracie take the Barbie after she hit me for no reason!”
Really? No reason at all? As soon as that spilled from my son’s tonsils I knew all to well that the opposite was true. If we were born inherently good, would the phrase “I had it first,” even enter into our vocabulary? Would I ever have to tell my children that lying is bad and if you lie your are going to hell? No, I don’t tell my children that they are going to hell for lying.
“Ouch!” (Followed by a whining squall.) “Gracie hit me! I don’t like you anymore Gracie!”
Again my son the instigator, and evidently innocent bystander, “Dad! Gracie hit Anna!”
“No I didn’t!” Really? Again I say to this, the opposite is nearly always true in this situation.
“Dad! Anna said she doesn’t like me anymore.” I reply back with a “why doesn’t she like you anymore” already perceiving what the answer is going to be.
“I don’t know because I didn’t hit her.” My four year old will later learn that this is actually an admission of guilt in most cases.
I coach her at this point, “Gracie did you hit your sister?”
Then a faint and trying-to-be-innocent comeback, “I don’t know.”
I had her limping like a gazelle. She was starting to ‘brush out’, a term we used in the Border Patrol when a group of illegals we were following were trying to cover their tracks.
“Hey sugar, if you are lying you know that is wrong. You don’t want me to have to come in that room and settle the problem. If you hit Anna, you better apologize.”
Wait for it… wait for it… “Sorry Anna.” She was quiet about it, but not quiet enough.
“That’s okay.” It’s over. The world has been rescued once again from a nuclear holocaust. But then…
“Dad! Anna and Grace are in my room!” My son shouts in a highly perturbed tone.
I don my cape and jump into action once again.
Wisdom and gentleness go hand in hand when you become a parent. I don’t have a lot of either, that is why I am constantly praying for more. However, heed this warning and listen well, when praying for wisdom and gentleness it is like praying for patience, the only way to gain more of either is through being in situations that require you to practice them.
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