Tuesday, December 4, 2012
A Line in the Sand
“Setting boundaries is not a more sophisticated way of manipulation—although some people will say they are setting boundaries, when in fact they are attempting to manipulate. The difference between setting a boundary in a healthy way and manipulating is: when we set a boundary we let go of the outcome” (Robert Burney).
My four-year-old son is testing boundaries right now.
He’s doing so almost all day every day about everything.
I know he’s growing up and pushing boundaries is a part of growing up. I’ve got that. I don’t need to be reminded of that. Honest I don’t. I do remember being a child.
Evan will ask me a question twelve times when he doesn’t get his way. Each time, I’ll tell him no and why the answer is no. Finally, when he realizes that I’m not giving in, he’ll go to his mother and want to begin the questioning again with her.
Fortunately, Evan’s mother and I are on to him. And, we work as a team.
Don't misunderstand. Evan is free to ask questions. He’s free to challenge our answers. We encourage his independence to grow (when he’s thirty, we don’t want him still living at home with us)!
But, his constant pushing wears on us. And, yes, at times, it wears us down. Almost to our wit’s end. Even to the point of anger and frustration.
I look at that little boy—who I love with my entire being—and I want to say, “Son, grow up! Accept the boundaries your mother and I set for you! We are doing what’s best for you. Accept it. Move on!”
Then, as I look into his eyes, I hear God’s voice speaking to me. I’ve been the master of pushing boundaries many times. I’ve been known to go back to God again and again and again. Each time with the same question. Each time getting the same answer from Him. But, with me asking just once more. Hoping He’ll do what I want!
I’m really no better than Evan at taking no for the answer.
Yet, God patiently loves me. Disciplines me when I need it. And continues to do what is best for me, even though it’s not what I always want.
I certainly need to pay more attention to God’s parenting skills as I parent my son. God’s the expert.
I’m still pushing the boundaries I’m afraid.