My 10-yr old granddaughter kept snuffing and sniffing, then coughed. The gurgling in her throat and the mucus rumbling with each breath began to eat at me while we were driving! I had just picked her up from school, and we had a bit of a drive before we were home.
Handing her a few tissues, I said a couple of things in a nice way to try to get her attention. No response. She continued to gurgle, and then cough. My admonishment to cover her mouth went unheeded as she was distracted by the sights outside the vehicle!
Finally, a bit exasperated, I huffed out, “Hannah! Blow your nose instead of snuffing all that nasty stuff back up inside. You need to get it out!”
“Why?” she whined. “It will only come back!”
Her eyes rolled back in her head as I proceeded to explain. Okay, that didn’t work. I asked her if her stuffy nose didn’t make her uncomfortable. She didn’t think so. My eyebrows knit together, I asked her about the runny stuff creeping down her face. She informed me she would just wiped it on her sleeve. Yuk!
I know her mother trained her better, why then all this lack of attention to what would be better behavior and a better outcome? Suddenly, a big ACHOO!
Oh No! A huge rope of thick, white and green slime strung from her nose to her hands, hanging all over her spread-out fingers like silly string!
“Help, help! “, she cried.
“I’m driving! Use the tissue!” I chided.
“I can’t,” she squalled!
Looking for a safe place to exit, I told her to hold still! I sure didn’t want that junk all over my seat! How did one little nose hold so much anyway?
Armed with a handful of baby wipes, I exited the car and came around to her side. I had her get out so I could inspect where she had been sitting. Working in the dental field had transformed me into a bit of an infection control freak! The seat, the dashboard, her pants, all underwent a thorough wiping with antibacterial wipes.
Hannah seemed unphased and was skipping all over the front of an orchard while I worked. I noticed her shoes were untied.
“Hannah – tie your shoes, please”, I called.
“It doesn’t matter, they don’t stay tied anyway!” she sang out, occupied with more important things.
“Check out this bug”, was her further reply.
“Hannah, watch out! You could trip!” I said, and, as I started toward her, the inevitable happened.
“Owwwwwww”, she moaned, trying to pick herself up from the dirt.
When I asked her why she didn’t tie her shoes, I realized that she had never really mastered the task well. Apart from that, she informed me that it was just too much trouble to care when tucking them in would do. Besides, all the other kids tucked theirs in too – didn’t I know? It was no BIG deal! I tied them for her anyway. No stitches, no cut lips or broken teeth on my watch! I’m sure my blood pressure rose a few points! Back into the car and ten minutes later we were on our way again.
Safe at home, I fixed Hannah a snack while she worked on homework. I set her plate down and noticed that her usually impeccable handwriting was exceptionally sloppy as she hurried through her lesson.
“What – is – this?” I slowly steamed.
“My homework”, was the salty reply
“I mean, it’s really kind of sloppy, you know. Why are you hurrying through it?” was my query.
“Teacher doesn’t care…” Hannah snipped.
“Well I DO! You can do better work than this!” I said and the struggle was on!
It brought back memories of me sitting by the side of one of my children, when they were younger, coaching them along and asking, “How else can you say this?”
Their hissy fits ensued! Although, my popularity in those days was in question, one child in particular, continually thanks me now!
Snapping back to the present, and Hannah’s complaints, I heard,
“Why do I have to redo this? Teacher doesn’t care!” Hannah whimpered.
“You should care! Doing it correctly will pay off later. A good job will be your reward,” was my attempt at resolving the issue. How could I make her understand?
A pouty mouth was evidence that she didn’t agree but she obeyed and began making things right. At least she was still teachable and willing to obey.
Then, out of the blue, Hannah stopped cold! She sighed a big one, and her little face started to beam.
“Huh! Grandma……Papa and I were talking the other day. He said that if I didn’t take care of the small things, I wouldn’t be able to handle the big things later.”
Did she actually say that? Was that little brain, in fact, engaged? I about fell off my chair!
We talked about what Proverbs said about the slothful guy who said there was a lion in the street and used that as an excuse not to go to work. Then conversation led to her bike. She still didn’t know how to ride it, and tried to blame it on her mother. While, in part, she did need an adult’s assistance, Hannah had merely dismissed trying because she couldn’t do it right away without a fall – so she gave up! Lazy, lazy, lazy!
That type of flippant reasoning is certainly not limited to little Hannah! Our culture has fostered a slothful laziness with the expectancy of entitlement to things without doing that which might be difficult.
Practice does make perfect. Certainly it takes time and energy – even some sweat equity! My daughter, who became a Dental Hygienist recently, is the one who unceasingly thanks me for training her properly, and not letting her get away with anything. She swears it prepared her to “hang-in” when she wanted to quit.
I used to have a magnet on the fridge that read, “Responsibility: knowing and doing that which is expected of me without higher authority.”
Carrying that further, it is no wonder people don’t know how to hear from God, let alone how to be led by God! Being led by God is all learned behavior. He expects us to do our part without Him always chiding or coddling!
Flesh will always be flesh. It is not born again, so must be trained, and brought into submission. Our minds are not redeemed yet either. It is dangerous for us to allow our minds to just roam! That is why God has instructed us to RENEW our minds. Obviously, WE can’t keep them under control!
I hate hearing that God brought calamity in someone’s life in order to bring them closer to Him.
Personally, I’d rather practice now before the storm comes….and believe me, I’ve already had a LOT of practice time!
Preparation of any type, is tedious, but at least I won’t moan and groan and give up easily! I’ll be prepared and ready to ride it out with an expected, victorious outcome!