Do you listen to your kids when they protest your decisions or are you on too big a power trip to hear them out?This morning Jacob and I got into a big argument about him wearing snow pants and boots to preschool. I told him to get his jacket on and he persisted and whined about needing snow pants. I got angry way too quickly and told him to stop crying and obey. He pleaded his case that his teacher wanted him to. I said, "When it comes to what he teacher says and what I say, you obey ME!" Then he cried, shut down, and whispered, "Look at the other kids when you drop me off."
I felt justified. There is no snow on the ground; why would he need boats and snow pants? Besides they were packed in his bag in case he needed them.
Then the neighbor girl in his class walked over in full snow gear. From his back seat Jacob offered weakly, "See Kylie is wearing them." Next we arrived at preschool. Upon seeing all the other kids decked out for blizzard conditions Jacob said, "Daddy look at the other kids." As I exited the van I could hear the teacher praising all the kids who dressed warmly and were ready for winter. Each child got a moment of personal attention for following the clothing directives of the previous day.
Before Jacob got out of the van I pulled out his snow pants and boots from his backpack. We got it all on and walked down to the playground. Jacob's teacher met us on the way and showered Jacob with cheerful praise. "Hi Mr. Responsible! You are all warm. Great job wearing your winter clothes!" Jacob beamed with happiness.
I walked back to the car feeling like a major jerk. Not once did I give Jacob a chance to explain himself. I didn't trust him or hear him out. My parental pride and need to be in charge was getting in the way of listening to my responsible 5 year old who just wanted to please his teacher. I know Jesus has forgiven me; now I just need to ask my son for the same.