Friday, May 23, 2008

I Found God In Toilet Paper...

If you have children, you know that venturing into a public restroom with a little one can be a small nightmare... kids are too short to use the facilities without draping their little bodies all over the seat or toilet edge, and they touch everything! *shudder!*

Over the last several years, our kids (ages 7 and 4) have learned that it is






At best, they have me taking them to a public restroom. Covering the toilet seat with toilet paper (if they have the "big" job to do), shielding them from touching anything. At worst, they are stuck with my dear, sweet, wonderful, germ-a-phobic husband; I suspect that my hubby would rather face an angry mob of 3-year olds buzzing "It's A Small World After All" on kazoos than enter a public restroom with a kid. If he doesn't bust out a full haz-mat uniform to shield them from the toxic waste that lurks in men's rooms, the kids consider themselves lucky!

So you see, my kids know the "routine" for a public restroom - at least when they are going in one with Mommy or Daddy...

what they do when nobody is looking...

well..... who knows...?!?!?!

Which is why I was stunned last week when my four-year old had to do B-I-G business at the fitness center. He had already left the kids' area, but we were still close by. I figured that there was a lesser chance of nastiness in the kiddie toilets so we checked back into kiddie-land, and I let him in the boys room... solo. Waiting outside, I started to hear this "Ow! ow! ow! Mommy, HELP!" I went in (asked permission first from the workers!), and my heart swelled with pride... The "OW-ing" came from him scraping his little knuckles on the toilet paper dispenser as he had piled up wads of toilet paper all over the seat by himself!!

The coverage was crude and lopsided - sparse in some places and clumped up in others - but what I saw was my son doing what he had been taught... and he was doing it WHEN NOBODY WAS WATCHING HIM!!

And here is how I connect this little experience to God... despite the perceived deafness that all kids seem to have when it comes to listening to their parents, the fact is that they ARE listening to us, and our actions speak even louder than our words! All of those trips to the restroom where my husband or I had covered the seat with toilet paper to buffer their bums from toilet-seat germs had sunk in! The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it

This is true in more than just "church business." Model the behavior you want your children to exhibit, and exhibit it, they will. Whether it be...
  • restroom procedures...
  • or how to treat others...
  • whether or not to smoke...
  • or cheat,
  • or lie,
  • or cuss,
  • or quit,
  • or avoid...
  • Whether they show compassion,
  • or kindness,
  • or perserverence,
  • or integrity...
Whatever YOU, the parents, have shown them, over and over again, will be their guide - their beacon leading them down the windy way of life decisions. If you have trained them up according to God's Word, when they grow up, they will not turn from it. These children are on loan to us from God... and at the end of this life, we will have to answer to Him on how we raised His kids. Fortunately, He has provided us with a How-To Guide... an instruction manuel the best life-guiding principles around. Have you opened your Bible lately and read what God has to say about rearing your children?
Ephesians 6
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Train them up right, and you will have done right by them AND God. :)

Have a blessed day!
:) Mags
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1 comment:

Heather said...

Wonderful analogy, Maggie! I loved it. We actually had a Family Home Evening lesson on this very subject a few months ago (doing what is right even when mom and dad aren't around to tell you to). I'm sure our kids would have found it much more interesting with the potty story though. You really are inspired.