Children…A Work In Progress

One day my daughter, Heidi, and her little girl, Lily, came to my house for an overnight visit.  Before we knew it, the day had ended and it was time for my sweet three-year-old granddaughter to go to bed.  As the

Our kids around 1986

Our kids (and Mark the dog) around 1986

bedtime ritual began, Heidi cheerfully informed Lily that she needed to brush her teeth.  By Lily’s reaction you would have thought her mother had just threatened to put her favorite doll in the dumpster.

Lily began to have an emotional and physical meltdown. She began her tantrum by screaming at the top of her very young and powerful lungs.  Although I was shocked by my precious, can-do-no-wrong granddaughter’s reaction, her mother was not surprised in the least.  Evidently Heidi had witnessed this side of my little grand-blessing on more than one occasion.  She was determined to not give in to Lily’s youthful tirade.

I heard Heidi explain to Lily in a calm voice that her behavior was unacceptable.  She made it clear what Lily was doing was wrong and then discussed the consequences of her actions.

 * Lily had to choose

Heidi said, “Lily, you have a choice.  Choice number one is you brush your teeth, and be happy.  Choice number two, refuse to brush your teeth, get a spanking, and need a bucket.”  (When Lily gets upset she yells, “I need a bucket,” as though she is going to throw up.  By the way, she never has used it. Yes, she’s my little drama queen.)

Heidi added, “Either way, you’re gonna brush your teeth.” 

* Lily considered the consequence

My daughter continued, “Lily, if you chose number two, you will be miserable and not enjoy your visit with DeDe and PaPa.  But if you choose number one, you choose to obey what I’ve asked you to do, and you choose to be happy with your choice.”

* Lily gets the credit

Right before my eyes I watched as a young child did what I had never even considered as an option when dealing with choices.  She calmed herself down, and after a few moments she looked up at her mother and held up one little finger.  She had made the choice to not only brush her teeth, but to be happy about it!  Though her eyes were still red and her face was still wet with the remnants of a well-fought battle, she managed to offer a little smile as she willingly brushed her tiny teeth.  Lily had decided to “kiss the chains” of parental authority.

* Sometimes it’s good to act like a three-year-old  

Watching this tiny chain-kisser challenged me.  I don’t know if Lily was intrigued with the idea that one can make a choice and then be happy about it, but I certainly was.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to come to such a life-changing revelation!  Even when things don’t go the way I want them to, I don’t have to be held prisoner to the downturn of emotions that might follow.  Nor do I have to let my emotions run their course until the good feelings cycle back around, so to speak.  But best of all, I discovered that acting like a three-year-old isn’t so bad after all.

 

Although we are several years past the child-rearing phase of our lives, we haven’t forgotten how taxing it can be to teach and train these young ones who remind us, regardless of how old we are, we are all a work in progress. One day back, in the 1980’s, while traveling together as a family, we heard the following song on a Christian radio station.  Honestly, Steve and I had to pull off the road for a few minutes so we could regain our composure.  The words to this well crafted song hit us right between the eyes.

Thanks to Chuck Fulmore for writing this helpful song that we recorded in 1986 as a family when Nathan and Heidi were youngsters. (The picture inset below is from a 1987 performance of the song!) Now, these many years later, we pass this lyrical gem on to the next generation.  I’m sure Nathan’s and Heidi’s children will benefit from their parents listening to this song…once again.


I Haven’t Turned Out Yet

(Available on the CD, “An Evening Together.”) 

The other day I heard my mom, complaining to my dad

It seemed she was quite certain I was turning out all bad

And so that night when she came in to tuck me into bed

I asked her to sit down awhile and this is what I said

 

I said, “Mom, you do not need to worry”

I said, “Mom, don’t give up on me yet

Those things you always tell me I never will forget

Someday, I’ll be a grown up and you’ll be proud I’ll bet

You see I’m still a kid mom, I haven’t turned out yet.”

 

My dad was tellin’ grandpa he was worried as could be

It seemed his heart was breakin’ he was so ashamed of me

And so that night instead of mom, ‘twas dad who tucked me in

I asked him to sit down awhile, I started with a grin

 

I said, “Dad you do not need to worry”

I said, “Dad you do not need to fret

That spankin’ you just gave me, I never will forget

Someday I’ll be a grown up and you’ll be proud I’ll bet

You see I’m still a kid dad, I haven’t turned out yet.”

 

A little later that same night we heard both mom and dad

We peeked through the key-hole they were kneeling by their bed

With arms around each other, they were talkin’ kind of sad

It seemed that they were prayin’ cause this is what they said.

 

They said, “Lord, we ask you to forgive us”

They said, “Lord, we’re so quick to forget

We were kids not long ago and we’re not grown up yet

Please help us to be kind and not do things we’ll regret

Be patient with us please Lord we haven’t turned out yet

Keep working on us please Lord, we haven’t turned out yet

 

Words and Music by: Chuck Fulmore; Fulmore Music Productions, 1982, SESAC.

Guest vocalist:  Heidi Chapman…7 years old

Nathan Chapman…10 years old

 

 

“Tiny Chain-Kisser” is adapted from the book, Overcoming Negative Emotions by Annie Chapman.  Harvest House Publishers; 2011.

Comments

  1. Annie,
    What year was your cd “A Mother’s Touch” released? It is a family favorite as several of the songs on the cd were used to honor our folks 50th anniversary. It has been a family blessing for many, many years. But we can’t find a date on the cd anywhere. 🙁 Thank you for your years of ministry,
    Heidi

    • Steve and Annie says:

      Heidi,
      Thanks for your inquiry about the Mother’s Touch CD. It was released in 1995. We’re delighted that it has been a meaningful recording for your family and we’re honored that it was used to honor your folks at their 50th anniversary. We appreciate your encouraging words. Blessings to you…
      Annie Chapman

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