As my son has recently transitioned from being a toddler to a preschooler, he has definitely come into his own and developed more of a personality and independence. He is learning about the world and how to respond to those around him, and part of this process includes pushing the limits in his life. Most of these limits are imposed by my husband and me, so I’ve been experiencing this learning phase in full force.

Through this, I have been learning a lot about myself and how I sometimes act toward my Heavenly Father and how childish I can be in my life. Our children can teach us so much about life just through the way they act, and my child definitely has! I want to share just a few of the lessons I’ve learned lately from my son and some ways we can change our attitudes in our walk with God to perhaps act a bit less childish ourselves.

"I want!"

I hear this phrase a lot these days. Immature children seem to think that simply because they want something, they are entitled to it. There are times when I can give my son exactly what he wants, and it often makes me happier than it makes him! But there are also times when I won’t give him what he wants in the moment because I know it’s not good for him (candy before dinner, removal of consequences from bad choices, etc.). In the instances where I have to say no, he will often follow up with “but I want!” as if that will change things and convince me to give in.

In those times, I’m reminded that just because we really want something doesn’t mean we should automatically get it. Often we are told 'no' in our lives because what we want is not good for us or it’s not the right timing, like having candy before dinner. Sometimes getting what we want in that moment may spoil our appetite for something awesome God has for us later. We can tell God what we want, but if he says ‘no’ or ‘not right now,’ or ‘how about this instead?’ we need to accept it instead of whining about how we really want it. The sooner we can learn this lesson (which unfortunately comes through experience with God telling us no) the more peace we will have in our lives.

"My life is ruined!"

When my son can’t find a toy or can’t get his shoe on or the bath water is slightly too warm, I’m often flabbergasted by how upset he gets over something that is obviously such a little thing in life. Yet he gets so upset because that is all he is focused on at that moment. When we are entirely focused on the circumstances of our life, it is very easy to get very upset when we are told 'no' or when something happens that we don’t like or makes us uncomfortable.  

When we can look at our lives and circumstances through God’s perspective, we can see things in better context and realize that our problems are not the end of the world. Once we get that, it is easier to stay calm, trust God and move on from the disappointment.  

"Can you do it for me?"

My son is almost 4 years old and he is getting ready to be a big brother here soon, so he is excited to learn to do things all by himself (and let’s face it, that excites me too!) Whether it’s getting himself dressed, brushing his own teeth, or grabbing a snack on his own, he is usually pretty motivated to do a new thing the first few times, but then something switches and all of sudden he will want mom and dad to do something for him that he’s shown he is very capable of doing himself.  Often times it would be easier (especially on my ears) to jump in and do these things for him, but I try to always encourage him to do it himself, and if he needs any help, I will be there. If I were to jump in and take over, he wouldn’t get the practice he needs to learn how to master the skills he is learning.