The Pot and the Kettle
Kids talking back is a normal bad habit that must be broken. It’s sad really how early it starts. James, 1 ½ years old, will already shake his head no and run from me at times when he hears the words “naptime.” Peter, however, is taking it to another level than any of my children before him.
Peter’s form of talking back is all about deflection. He deflects any correction back on Tate or I. Let me give you some classic Peter interactions.
Me: Peter, you need to be quiet.
Peter: No, you need to be quiet!
Me: Peter, you’re bothering your sister.
Peter: Mom, you’re bothering me!
Me: Peter, we need to walk a little faster.
Peter: Stop telling me how to walk Mom!
You get my drift. Peter spends a good deal of time in timeout and also has had more than one swat on the butt as you can imagine. His inability to hear criticism is spiraling him into saying the most absurd things as of late.
Me: Peter, you’re not behaving well.
Peter: No, Mom! I’m not Peter!
What? That makes absolutely no sense. Then yesterday…
Me: Peter, let’s listen to Mom and have a good day.
Peter: I don’t want to have a good day!
Peter’s defiance and disobedience have taken him to place where he doesn’t even recognize himself or want to have a good day. The poor boy needs some help and quick.
The ability to receive criticism humbly and be willing to change is so very difficult. I am offender numero uno on this one. On more than one occasion an argument has erupted between Tate and I when he says something that I do, and I respond back in some such way. “You think I do that?! You should look at yourself!” And then we are down the slippery, ugly slope of the Pot calling the Kettle black. Both pointing fingers. Getting nowhere.
Sadly, I spend my time and energy deflecting any possibly criticism off myself onto another. The one who really pays is me. Too proud to accept a suggestion to improve myself, I sound just like Peter. I know you are, but what am I? Guess it’s time to grow up a little.
When one continues down this path of refusing to take a good look at one’s life and situation, you start saying and believing even more bizarre things like Peter denying his own self. Let me get that splinter out of your eye. I really am beginning to like the plank in my own.
Ridiculous, to be sure.
Peter should trust me and obey Tate and I. We are his mother and father and want what is best for him. We are certainly wiser. In our adult lives, we have our Heavenly Father and our Mother, the Church, to guide us. Am I willing to follow the rules they give me for the benefit of my own soul? Or am I the petulant child who knows better and refuses to trust in their wisdom? It is only when I began to embrace the rules they laid out for me that I felt truly free.
My prayer for myself, and Peter, is the next time I receive some criticism, I am able to humbly accept it. If I don’t agree with it, I can just hold my tongue and reflect on it further in prayer. Chances are there is more truth to it than I want to admit in the moment. Even if a criticism is completely unwarranted and untrue, I can offer it up as a sacrifice to God and know that Jesus was criticized many times falsely.
The ability to be silent and listen when things are said to you is difficult to be sure. The ability to admit that our way is not always the best way is even harder. We show our true character when we can do both.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine. JMJ
People love to eat. At least I do! Another very simple way to pray at least several times a day, is to pray before you eat. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, taking that moment to thank God for the gift of the meal before you is really only polite in the end. But it need not be something we just rush through, barely making the sign of the cross and rushing through the prayer. Each time we say Grace is an opportunity to pray well. Slowly making the Sign of the Cross. Closing our eyes and bowing our heads. This short prayer, when done with love, calms our minds down before we begin our meal and reminds us of the gifts in our lives.
Bless us O Lord for these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen. May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
The first part of the prayer we say before meals is a prayer of thanksgiving and is more familiar to most. The second part, is a prayer for all those who have gone before us in death. It is again, a way to build prayer in for those who are undergoing their final purification. Our prayers for their souls do not go unheard!
Hopefully, we can instill a habit in our children such that it doesn’t feel right to eat without praying first. More, hopefully we take the time to pray this short prayer from the heart and with sincere gratitude.