“But Muuuuum…. I really really want to!”
Mum says, with much patience, “That is where we need self control. Do you remember what Self control means?”
“It means making a choice”
“That is right, what choice to you have to make?”
“To do it, or not to do it”
“That’s right. What choice are you going to make?”
“Weeeeell, that is the question!” says Daniel
What a classic conversation. Just because a child knows the right thing does not mean they will choose to do the right thing. Daniel sat on my lap until he made a decision. It would have been so easy for me to remind him to just go and do the right thing but if I did so I would not have trained him in making decisions for himself. He would have been doing the right thing out of obedience to me, not because he chose to do so.
When our children are little we are establishing in them an understanding that there is a right and wrong way, right and wrong choices, and there are consequences/blessings for the choices we make. As they grow up they need the freedom / time to make these choices for themselves (and suffer the consequences or enjoy the blessings).
After sitting for a while Daniel got up and said, “yes mum!” and off he went to have a shower.
In one sense this wasn’t immediate obedience and yet he was having an internal struggle with his own desires and what he knew to be right. Over the next little while, however long it takes, as I give him time to work through these internal struggles, he will get quicker at putting aside his personal desires and choosing to do right.