My roommate Sarah and I were talking the other day about the love God’s given us for our kids. They can be so mean. But we love them so much. It seems like a mini reflection of the way He loves us.
I’m guessing that any parent can relate.
The kids love can be so conditional. They love you when you give them a huge high five as they walk in the door. They hate you five minutes later as you interrupt their game of Spiderman and peel them off the walls.
You love them anyways.
Yesterday My Little Best Friend was climbing on a table then making a snarky comment to another leader. “That looks like a time out to me buddy.” I told him, as he’d already had two warnings. Another leader lead him off to time out room but I was soon called in to explain the time out to my supervisor, Hosanna.
It turns out the little guy knew exactly why he was on time out. So I started to ask him:
“Do you think it’s ok how you’ve been talking to your leaders today? I heard you shushing them… Even calling someone a jerk?”
“I was singing a song.”
“Well, if someone thought you were singing it to them don’t you think it would hurt their feelings?”
“Yeah.” he said vaguely.
“Are you listening to Rumour?” Hosanna asked, “She loves you and she’s trying to help you.”
“Yeah buddy, I love you very much. I don’t just lecture you for no reason.”
“We really do love you around here.”
After a second of thought he asked, “If you guys love me, why do you give me suspensions?”
“Well.” I started.
Hosanna jumped in, “I’ll let Rumour answer that one.” And went off to make sure my program was running smoothly. I was glad for his confidence in me.
“When you are eighteen years old.” I started again, “And you go up to a police officer and call him a jerk, and disrespect him like you’re disrespecting leaders today, what’s going to happen.”
“I’ll go to jail.” He said, not sounding the slightest bit worried.
“I don’t want that for you. You know, my brother’s in jail and…”
“Your brother’s in jail?”
“Yes. And I wish that when David was little – ”
“His name is David?”
“Yes… Not David from YMAD, but his name is David. And I wish that when he was a little boy he had lots of leaders to give him warnings for doing all the bad things that he seems to think are ok now. ” Dave was eight when my parents adopted him. Only a year younger than my Little Best Friend is now. From that point on I can think of great leaders he had, especially my parents, but there was something that my brother is lacking that my little friend has. Jesus.
“Why did he go to jail, stealing from someone?”
“I think maybe he stole from lots of people.”
“How long is he in jail for?”
“Well he’s been in jail lots of times, but it might be two whole years this time. So, if I come back to see your mom in ten years I don’t want her to be telling me that her son made bad choices and went to jail. That would break my heart. For real break my heart, I’m not kidding this time. But you know what, I don’t think that’s going to happen, because you’ve got Jesus in your heart and He’s going to help you.”
“He doesn’t have Jesus in his heart?”
“No. We pray for him all the time, we love him and he needs Jesus a lot.”
“Five minutes are over.”
“You would get me chatting for your whole time out wouldn’t you?”
I love that little man.
Even when he kicks me.
But, when he does kick me, I will suspend him,
Because… I love that little man.
Speaking of unconditional love. Do my parents ever love that boy of theirs. I love him too, he’s my big brother. If only he’d made the decision to accept Christ when he came to us at 8 years old! The very same age that this little buddy of mine accepted Christ. His life would be so different now. He’s twenty-six now, but we’re not giving up hope. Keep praying.