My kids are huge fans of the How to Train Your Dragon movies and Netflix show. They have been excitedly discussing details about the newest movie since the first trailer was released. Two weeks ago they asked if we could go to the theater to see the movie over the weekend. Our kids know that we don’t go to the theater for every new movie that comes out. Going to the movies is a very expensive way for our family to spend three hours. Between tickets, snacks and drinks, it costs close to $100. When there is a movie that the kids are super excited about though, we will splurge a bit for the experience.
I bought in demand tickets for a Sunday afternoon show on Friday. Friends, let me just tell you, my children’s attitudes almost lost them the privilege of seeing that movie. We had church in the morning and then a piano event in the early afternoon. Both of these lend themselves to wearing nice clothing. I’m not talking formal wear here…just nicer than t shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants. We were planning to go from piano directly to the movie theater. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that three of my children separately cried over the fact that they were not allowed to change into “more comfortable” clothes before the movie.
One was so angry that, through a waterfall of tears, this child tried to manipulate the situation with claims so ridiculous that I won’t even explain them here. We have a zero tolerance policy on manipulation in our home. Because said child was now trying to get out of going to the movie as a way to gain control, you better believe this child was going to be there. We gave the child a choice. The bad attitude could continue with specifically laid out consequences as a result of that choice, or child’s face could be washed and body buckled in the van within three minutes. Should the bad attitude reappear, previously stated consequences for the coming week would be reinstated as well.
After the piano event, I texted my mom, who had driven to see the piano performance. “Sorry (Child) was distant. He was angry that he had to wear real pants and it became a thing.” The absurdity…. So, why didn’t we just go home rather than give them the privilege of seeing the movie? Frankly, because one of them had tried to power up by refusing to go, two others didn’t deserve to lose the privilege because of their sibling’s poor choices that day, and because I really like movie theater popcorn.
The battle over clothing was just the icing on the cake to some other issues of entitlement and a selfish desire for personal comfort that my children had displayed in recent days. I talked more with Jason recently about my frustration with this reality. I am working on a post about how we practically work to fight this in our house. We are intentional about combating entitlement, and yet it rears its ugly head again.
I was still reflecting on this situation when I was struck with a humbling reality. I have started working through the book Made for This by Jennie Allen.(Link below). The subtitle reads “40 Days to Living Your Purpose.” I have only made it through 5 days of the study’s content so far. There is some intentionality in moving through the content slowly. It is forcing me to face one of my biggest fears, letting go of control to submit with a prayer of “anything” to God.
Since beginning this study, I have shared with two close friends that I have an awareness that part of my fear in submitting to “anything” God would ask of me is that I don’t want to be uncomfortable. We have lived on a bare bones budget, through years of doctors and hospitals with a very sick child, in a seasons of less happy marriage, through personal health scares, a major financial set back, some very painful emotional wounds and through spiritual attack. I don’t want to live through those things again. What if God asks me to specifically give up some of our financial, relational, material, or emotional security?
What if I am so angry about being asked to wear real pants instead of sweatpants that I am willing to give up a greater opportunity that awaits me, in an effort to grasp at control? See that life lesson there? #parentingkeepsmehumble
It must be so frustrating to God to observe that the things holding me back from trusting Him with “anything” are the privilege and comfort surrounding me. Maybe my kids would care a little less about their comfort if I cared a little less about my own.
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