Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Parenting: Learning To Care About Others

Rachelle had just been born. I had LaRae get a doll we could bathe, and I told her we would bathe her baby like I bathed Rachelle. She promptly ran to get her potty chair so her baby could take care of business before bath. (LaRae had recently graduated out of pull-ups, so I guess this was more on her mind than diapers that first week of Rachelle's life.) 

I hoped this would preoccupy my toddler in a good way, training her in mothering skills and helping her "think of others," since she was adjusting to this new baby who had invaded her space.
For the first two years of LaRae's life, she had been the center of attention for our close friends and family. It had been a long time since any of us had had a baby in our midst, and she got a lot of attention!

As we started seeing certain characteristics developing in her--partly due to being the center of everyone's attention--we had to take measures to train her to deal with the forces she was feeling and responding to. If she acted out selfishly toward her little sister, Curt and I were quick to shame her (from hearts that loved her and cared about her ultimate good) and assure her such behavior would not be permitted. We treated it like the evil it was, the evil we all have to deal with in our hearts, our in-born bent toward selfishness. We talked to her about how selfishness toward her little sister is the first beginnings of self-centered acts like murder. With prayer, diligence, and being as consistent as we knew how, it wasn't too many years before she chose to embrace the reality of what we were teaching her, and she became a loving big sister who delighted us all.

Thanks be to God!

This picture makes me laugh. 
I don't remember exactly what happened,
but Rachelle's headband had slipped down over her eyes.
LaRae brought her to me.
I DO remember that.  : )

LaRae eventually began to take joy in teaching her little sister all sorts of things.
Of course, we had to help her get through the "wise-in-your-own-eyes" phenomena that can develop.

There are so many ways our flesh will lead us astray, aren't there?!
Thank God for scripture that brings to light the things we need to watch for!

Curt and I had help--at church and from our reading and studying--to continually see and correct things in our own lives so we could pretty much--in those early days--stay ahead of the girls enough to train them. :)

Years later, as our girls matured and started developing a personal relationship with God, they began to see things they could help us with. In the right way and in the right time and place, they have done that and still do! 

It's a beautiful thing, and I'm ever grateful.