Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Teddy Graham Lesson

Do you ever have those moments as a parent where in the midst of training your child God trains you?  Surely you know what I'm talking about; it's that precious stirring of the soul when the Holy Spirit moves through an ordinary circumstance in a mighty, yet gentle way.

Perhaps it's because our hearts are tendered as mothers or perhaps it's that our Heavenly Father knows how to guide us through the eyes our children.  Whatever the reason, nothing humbles me more than motherhood and its endless teachable moments.  God knows that, and he occasionally uses that soft spot to remind me that I too am a child, His Child, and I still have many lessons to learn.  Tonight was such a blessed occasion.

This evening Eli was eating a nice dessert of Teddy Grahams.  I conveniently poured several into a dish for him and sat it on the kitchen table.  He indulged in the sweet treat as I busied around the kitchen cleaning up from dinner.

Not much for sweets, I didn't partake in this mini meal.  However, after sweeping the floor I decided I too wanted a cookie, so I walked toward the table with my hand out stretched asking for a Teddy Graham. My request was quickly denied in true two-year old fashion as Eli adamantly responded with a "NO. Mine."

I wasn't mad...really I wasn't.  Yes, there was a need for correction and a firm mother/son discussion on the importance of sharing, but there was a lesson much deeper for me.

One Teddy Graham for myself would have been a fraction of what was in Eli's dish, yet he didn't want to share. He had already forgotten that it was I who provided him with this treat. His earlier gratitude for the cookies gave way to fear that sacrificing, even one, would result in fewer riches for himself.  He had also forgotten that there was a pantry full of other Teddy Grahams, and not just that -there was a storehouse of treats his mind could not conceive.  There were Oreos, and Pop Tarts, and Lolly Pops all waiting to be lavished on him.  Yet, I as his parent could not rightfully give him such treasures due to his poor attititude.

My child needed to learn so many lessons in that moment.  There was a lack a gratitude toward me for what had been provided. His need for nutishment had been met with dinner, yet he felt entitled to the pleasure of cookies.  There was a selfishness that prevented him from sharing his good fortune with others.  Of course the vulgarity of this offense was intensified by that fact that he withheld from the one who provided.  And finally, there was a lack of trust.  Time and again I provide not just food for my son, I lavish sweet riches upon him.  Yet, in his moment of selfishness he feared I would not continue to pour such things upon him.

All of this over a Teddy Graham?  Yeah, that's how God works.  He uses the Holy Spirit to stir a truth deep within our souls.  This wasn't about a two year old not sharing.  This was about me - a desperate sinner who needed a look into her filthy heart.

Just as I provided a meal for Eli, so too does the Lord provide for my needs according to His riches and glory.  And just as I lavished the treasure of sweets upon Eli, so too does God pour out blessings that far exceed my daily needs.  Yet, my selfishness turns what should be gratitude into an attitude with a dangerous sense of entitlement.  My resulting actions are so often like my son's were toward me, as  I want keep those blessing to myself, not sharing them with the very one who provided them in the first place.   Like Eli's attitude prevented him from seeing what treats I had in store for him, my own selfishness blinds me to the riches the our Father has waiting for me.

Whether it's withholding a tithe check or ignoring a brother or sister in need,  these Earthly riches are not mine to control.  They are God's.  Just as the Teddy Grahams were not Eli's to control.

Whew!! It's funny how all my life I've heard my Momma say, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you,"  but it took a ordinary box of Teddy Grahams, a small two year old boy, and a Holy and Might God to teach me such an important lesson.

I pray that this lesson will always be fresh in my heart and that there will be many more teachable moments on this journey we call parenthood. May we never forget the Teddy Grahams lesson.

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