lessons at two

T.J.Children, ParentingLeave a Comment

Two-year-old Mac

Baby Mac, if you have been paying attention, is no longer a baby. Mac is almost two. Toddler Mac is an amazing little guy, full of surprises, humor, love, strength, wits, wisdom and sin.

Adam and Eve sinned.

“…she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

I am a sinner.

“…there is none who does good, not even one.”

God responds.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I like to remember this verse. With Baby Jane expected shortly, I recall and reminisce about Mac’s birth. Have you ever wondered why child birth hurts, other than the fact a baby comes out of… the stork’s basket? I turn thirty this year. I already day dream about retirement. Work is hard. Rewarding, yes. But, hard. I’m sure most men will agree.

Now, I don’t mean to offend. I don’t mean to disrespect. I may seem to be making light a heavy matter… I am.

God parents us.

From a young age, we started making house rules for Mac, “Don’t touch that,” “Don’t do that,” etc. I wasn’t reading Genesis at the time, I wasn’t intending to mimic God, but, I did. God made house rules, “You shall not eat of it.”

I would like to invite you over; for those of you who didn’t realize our home has an open door policy.

I’m not a fan of combination locks to secure your pantry from your children. I’m not dumb either (fine Trevor, it’s debatable). We cover our plugs, we put medicine away, we really need to find a better spot for the cleaning supplies, and I “ShopVac” every spider I can find (saving Kelli’s life).

Speaking of Kelli. While hosting friends with a toddler recently, Kelli summarized what I’m articulating, “We don’t have a very child proof home.”

I’m getting to a point.

I digress.

I’m sometimes torn. On the one hand, I want to mount everything six feet up on the wall, install linoleum flooring throughout, create and patent a biometric safe medicine cabinet, and put the gate back up in front of the stairs. I love having children over. I want Mac’s friends to be comfortable in our home. I want them to be safe in our home. I want their parents to feel comfortable in our home. With nine bottles of wine, hanging from nothing more than a hole in a piece of pine, all within reach of little hands and heads, it’s easy to agree with Kelli. Our home is not childproof.

On the other hand, my point.

I purposefully, intentionally, obediently and repeatedly mimic God’s response. There are consequences because of our sin. There are consequences for sinful actions.

So Mac decided, at a very young age, to do that which he was instructed not to do. Mac received a consequence. Kelli and I have confidence and know the consequences we give Mac are biblical and right (thanks to the wisdom and example of scripture, mentors, family and friends). I know that everyone reading this may not agree with our consequences. You may have disagreed after witnessing Mac receive a consequence at times.

Sometimes, I prefer to be simple. When Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them a consequence. The consequence was painful.

Mac tried to touch the cable box when he first learned how to stand up. He got a consequence, it was painful, he remembers, and he does not touch it anymore (he has tested the theory a few times, curious if rules change, nope, not that rule, consequence).

Some consequences are from God, not me, not Kelli. “Don’t climb on that,” and he climbs. You see it coming. Mac falls. Sometimes harder than others. There is a divine consequence for climbing when you shouldn’t. Gravity. You fall. You feel pain.

Again, although up for debate, I am not stupid. Mac did not get to roam free on top of Saint Paul’s Cathedral after we climbed to the top. That’s a big fall. I don’t think you’d feel much pain; you’d be dead.

Yes, I am an extremist.

I am hard on Mac. I do not let him get away with trying to sin, let alone sinning.

I point out every sin. Sometimes I tell him. Sometimes I offer a consequence. Sometimes I give a consequence.

Here is why:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one-who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

Christ took responsibility, Christ took Mac’s consequence when he touched the cable box in disobedience. I believe the pain Jesus experienced, the victory He won, the propitiation by His blood, includes Mac’s sin, not even a year old, trying to touch the cable box when being told not to.

I point out Mac’s sin so he learns. I want Mac to learn to be righteous. More, I want Mac to grasp how great our God is, how much God loves us, how unfathomable God’s grace is. I want Mac to understand the meaning of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. I want Mac to understand what it means when he hears “Christ bore our sins on the cross.”

I want Mac to understand, because I do not.

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