My 14 year old was what some would call a strong-willed child when she was a little bitty. We read the books, we did the Growing Kids God’s Way classes, we did it all, and guess what? She is still strong willed. None of it changed her, but it did change us!
When she was around 3 or 4 I decided “we” would try a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – we got out the cutest little tea plate, she helped me make the sandwich, we cut it into heart shape removing all the yucky crust and placed it perfectly on that cute little plate, “Ready?”
“Nope!” She refused to taste it.
So I wrapped it in plastic wrap and carried it in my purse, vowing that she was not allowed to eat anything else until she tried this sandwich. We went to her cousin’s birthday party and she watched as all the other children eat cake – I offered her the sandwich to try so she could have cake – she wouldn’t budge and chose not to have party treats. I got alot of flack from the grandparents but I stood my ground!
At dinner I offered the sandwich, “Nope!” and she went to bed hungry.
The dawn of a new day, surely she will be hungry enough to try it and eat something else after…”Nope!” That child did not eat for two days. On the second night she threw up because her belly was upset because she was so dang hungry. (Here’s where you pull your hair out and give in.)
Strong-willed! She is a strong-willed child and strong-willed children can be so difficult and taxing and exhausting and relentless and time consuming and…they wear you out if you let them.
So, I don’t know if this is right or wrong, I am not writing a parenting book, I am just sharing a little piece of wisdom that God gave me when she was very young right around the time of the peanut butter and jelly, throwing up in the middle of the night, wanting to kill her and shove that dang sandwich down her throat time…this is what He gave me,
“Is this of Kingdom value?”
Meaning at the end of the day, does this issue I am battling with her over have eternal value, is it a character issue, does this affect her in an eternal way, is this a Kingdom issue?
I have asked this question many times over the course of her 14 years and there have been many times that I answered, “Yes!” and have fought the good fight for her soul but some things are just better left on the tea plate because at the end of the day they really don’t matter.
She is still a super picky eater – the psychologists or nutritionists or some “ist” has dubbed it “supertaster” and basically describes “a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average.” Marc says all the time, “I believe in miracles! Because it is a miracle that God can take chicken nuggets and make our Alayna!”
Mamas, choose your battles wisely. Your 2 year old, your 8 year old, your 15 year old will stretch you and push you, pull you and roll over you at times but choose the hills you want to stand upon, bury your stake, raise you flag and die on – every hill is not worth it! Ask yourself, “IS THIS A KINGDOM ISSUE?” And if so, then stand strong warrior Mom, lace up those combat boots and stand strong. But if it’s not, and many of them are not, then leave it on the tea plate and rest up because there’s another battle coming (in like 20 seconds) and you will need your strength!