In case it has not come across clearly in other posts, I have a three-year-old (four next week...yikes!) with a lot of personality and opinion. She can put up an admirable battle for her position, whether she believes it's her turn immediately or she does not want to finish her dinner before having a snack. When she doesn't get her way, she will stick out her lip, drop her shoulders, slink away or shriek, turn red, get physical (with her sisters). Last summer, we had left the beach earlier than she would have liked. She screamed "No" on the drive all the way back to the campsite and continued after all of us got out of the car and closed the doors. We called her the princess of "No" that day and quipped about how we looked forward to her running out of stock of the word. It is often difficult to get her attention or interrupt this process...but it always seems to be the time I choose to define the terms of obedience or kindness or patience to her. Needless to say, she never hears a word I say or learns from my brilliant lectures.
Today, she and I were cuddled up reading the story of the three bears and Goldilocks...discussing the wrongs committed by the flaxen-haired young lady. It suddenly struck me as we cuddled and whispered together, that it might be the perfect time to discuss what I love about her, define those fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) to her and point out the times she has practiced them beautifully. We chatted about examples when she would have the opportunity to show how she could obey and that obedience was still expected, even when it was not what she wanted to do. It really was a pleasant interaction for me...memorable. I will now have my eyes and ears open for additional opportunities to teach her gently and pleasantly...then it will be a little easier to call those lessons to mind when the storms hit.