When I hear young mommies and daddies talking about the way their kids act when they get home from an extended stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I have to laugh. I’ve been there! It doesn’t take long for kiddos to realize when the barbed wire is down. Out from under the watchful eyes and alert ears of Mom and Dad, they revel in late bedtimes, candy for breakfast (I exaggerate, of course…I hope!), and the visceral thrill of saying “no.”
I still remember the time we left our oldest, Hunter, with my parents for a quick anniversary get-away. I called to check on him before going into a movie to put my anxious heart at ease. My dad answered and told me that he had taken Hunter to the mall for lunch. I smiled at the thought of my one-year-old sitting up like a big boy at the food court, eating his usual chicken nuggets and fruit cup. “He ate everything,” my dad chuckled, “a whole order of fries AND an ice-cream cone!”
Staying with grandparents is fun, but it doesn’t take long for kiddos to tire of the freedom that brings with it fuzzy little brains, sticky cheeks, and a solid rock of guilt somewhere in their middle. They are almost always (notice that I said “almost”) ready for mom and dad to come home, schedules, boundaries, and discipline in tow. Though they may buck these things at first, I think that deep down, kids know that they feel better when they get to bed on time, cut out the junk food, and use nice words.
I know I do!
I’ve been a Christian for almost thirty-six years now, and I like to think I know a thing or two about being one. That’s a real problem because I tend to get puffed up and proud and don’t spend time with God like I should. Confident that I know what’s best, I test the boundaries fairly often, unaware that I have stepped away from the Father.
Before I know it, I’m out of control, not in an oops-I-just-robbed-a-bank way, but in a wow-I-shouldn’t-have-said-that kind of way or a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of way. All I ever have to show for my rogue moments are bad memories and a solid rock of guilt in my chest. I think the worst part, though, is knowing that other people saw me acting the fool. Embarrassing!
Apparently, I can’t be trusted on my own. In fact, I’m positive that I am going to need the Father’s help every moment of every day for the rest of my life. Good thing He’ll never leave me!