When I Don’t Know W.W.J.D.

Two days ago, I had a blasphemous thought: Would Jesus have remained sinless if he had had to parent my kids? And while I know that that thought shouldn’t have crossed my mind, it did. And, truthfully, on this particular night, I was convinced that even Jesus would’ve lost his cool when He saw his little kids lying amidst papers and toys strewn across the playroom floor after two weeks of ordering them to clean up. I was convinced that the sounds of whining and crying from his oldest and the touch of toddlers clinging to His leg while having tantrums would’ve had Him calling one of the disciples to come babysit so He could head to Starbucks, hiding from the sight of any people three feet tall and under.

After a miserable previous week, I had started this week off fresh. With a new idea tucked away in my brain, I loaded up the girls and headed to Target for some incentive stickers. And even though the Disney princess stickers cost $6 when a pack of butterfly and flower stickers cost half that amount for twice the number, I went through the check-out line with the princesses and a pack of Star Wars stickers for Caleb. After all, for the incentive to work, the kids had to be excited about their prize. I was sure they would pick up their toys for a sticker.

 

So when we reached the end of the week with two barren charts except for a few stickers awarded ( one sticker stolen, not earned) merely for the kids to realize that they could, in fact, earn stickers, I threw up my hands in desperation. And as I hung my head in defeat and contemplated if Jesus would, in fact, sin, I also thought about a question that I was first asked my senior year in high school.

My mom had come home from the Christian book store one day with a handful of bracelets.

“What are these?” I asked.

I looked over the letters ‘W.W.J.D’ embroidered on the cloth.

“It stands for ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ and when someone asks you what it means, you’re supposed to give them the bracelet.

photo courtesy of photobucket.com

I remember giving some to my boyfriend and hearing his experience having given his away to a girl in his math class:

“She told me it was really hard to smoke wearing that bracelet!”

In high school, when I asked the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ I knew the answer. He wouldn’t want me to rebel against my parents by smoking. He wouldn’t want me to cheat on tests or make fun of the awkward boy in my math class. He would want me to try my hardest, act respectfully to my teachers, love my neighbors.

But the other day, as I stood in my kitchen and asked myself that question again, I answered honestlyย I don’t know.

I thought about the life of Jesus, and since he was not a human parent to any children, I could only look to how he treated those he encountered.

I considered the option of teaching my children in parables:

There once was a mother Wolf spider. She had three children who crawled around under her legs and wouldn’t grow up fast enough. So she ate them.

I wasn’t sure that parables would be the most effective method for my young audience.

And I wasn’t sure what method to use instead. I didn’t know if Jesus would praise the ‘Naughty Step’ or give a swift spanking. I wasn’t sure if He would hand out stars on chore charts or box up toys that had littered the floor one day too many. I wasn’t sure of much other than that He would love.

He would teach them in a way that they would know their sins without feeling the weight of condemnation, being clothed in forgiveness instead.

And they would know love.

And it is this love that would compel them to obedience, to following the One who called.

I find the job of ‘mother’ extremely frustrating sometimes. I have more questions than answers, and I feel the weight of my responsibility to these three precious lives. And most mornings, I wake up not knowing how to discipline a child who isn’t motivated by punishment or reward.

But I can start with love.

And while I don’t know how to do it as perfectly as Jesus, I do have that motherly instinct. And I know the love Jesus has bestowed on me.

So I start there. With love. Some days it’s all I have.

Journeys

Have you ever pictured Jesus as a parent to your children? How do you think He would respond? Join in the conversation below, or add your own post describing a spiritual journey you are currently taking.

And for those wanting to embark on a different kind of journey, Nikki invited me to share my thoughts on potty-training. I find the timing of these two posts ironic, the one where I say I don’t know how to parent and the next where I give out advice! I’d love for you to check out her site and add any other tips on potty-training that you can offer.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “When I Don’t Know W.W.J.D.

  1. Jennifer, I'm so glad I followed you, sil or not. LOL! What a great post. I'm definitely tweeting this one.
    You are so right on, LOVE and let Jesus handle the rest. So often we forget to love because we see no progress with our children and worry that they'll never have any sense of responsibility, no desire to clean up (LOL). But Jesus said to love, and we are also to teach, so keep teaching them in the way they should go and keep smiling and loving. ๐Ÿ™‚

    WWJD in this situation? HE wouldn't have to do a thing, I imagine that Jesus emanates love, He is love, He is awe inspiring, HIS presence is enough to stop anyone in their tracks and put them in such a state of happiness and love that they would have no problem doing whatever was asked of them. Honestly, thinking WWJD as a parent has often frustrated me because I too, don't know.

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  2. Reading your post I was thinking about the God of Exodus, when He was trying to establish a relationship with the Israelites as "his people." They kept making him angry with their disobedience and willfullness and God's conversations with Moses during that time are actually pretty funny if you are a parent. God was frustrated with his chidren. He would get angry and want to strangle them all. He told Moses He needed to remove himself from them for a while so He would not destroy them all. So, while Jesus did not have physical, earthly children, God has plenty and we make him just as mad as ours do.
    Anyway, there is one book that changed my parenting philosophy and saved my sanity. It's called "Parenting with Love and Logic." Heard of it? I love it.
    Blessings to you!

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    1. Great point about the God of Exodus–it makes me feel a little better to know that God sometimes wanted to wipe out His kids, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have not heard of that book, so I guess I'll have to add it to the list!

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  3. Jesus shared the emotions we all share, the money exchangers table comes to mind. Frustration and anger is a natural part of raising kids, sounds like you might be doing better than most of us. This life is the twinkling of an eye… My dad passed last May, I was talking with my mom last night and she was sharing how important the little things were. Right up until the end my mom and dad loved to recall stories of our lives when my siblings and I were growing up. Seems the best memories were the most taxing at the time. I wrote a post earlier this week, http://theregoi.com/finding-floyd/a-bedtime-ritua… It is about the little rituals I did with my youngest, now she's to old for those type of rituals. I was actually thinking of you and your kids as I wrote and posted it. I remember even in the frustrations usually doing the right things, sometimes even despite the frustrations. They now are the sweetest of memories… This was another home run post from start to finish. You have a way of pulling our heart with you through the frustrations laced with humor to the poignant heart pulling finish. Good job…

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    1. I definitely wouldn't say that I do better than most–probably the opposite. My heart is in the right place, though, and my prayer is that God will keep molding it and shaping it to look more like His.

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  4. I keep coming back to Love too, haha I've never thought about Jesus raising my kids, but I often would LOVE to meet Jesus as a 3 year old! Seeing as he was sinless…would he have been a fairly normal toddler? What is "sinful" nature? What is normal developmental behaviour….? Sometime I wonder if I'm doing enough because Love is our main "tool" but when I compare my friends kid to mine who is regularly spanked and sent to the naughty seat, but loved as well, their behaviour is well, pretty much the same.

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  5. I feel like I have been saying the same things to my son for his entire 5+ years…I get discouraged to say the least. He too, seems unfazed by discipline or reward, well outside of 8 min. following the discipline or reward.

    But I just keep on trudging…I love him, and tell him so and try not to lose my cool. Every day.

    I needed this post. Love is a win-win.

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  6. I loved this one- Jesus did get angry a few times, and I think he got frustrated too. I think he got frustrated more with all the adults who knew better than the children. Although, the children know better so much of the time too.

    I'm sure that you're doing a wonderful job- frustration or not. It wouldn't be normal, and I'd think you were really odd if you thought being a mother was easy. That's the part that TERRIFIES me of having kids. How on earth am I going to get them to behave? My DOG doesn't even obey me.

    Still, I find it slightly funny, that one of the stickers was stolen and put on the sticker chart. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. You are right–Jesus did get angry and even turned over tables. However, I feel funny when I turn over furniture when the kids make me mad. ;)Facebook has really been bad for me; I compare myself to the other moms who post how wonderful their children are and write blog posts about their absolute sweetness. And, of course, I just want my kids to obey! Every day is another learning experience, right?I didn't laugh at the stolen sticker, but given everything else, I found it rather appropriate (and I can laugh about it today).

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  7. I'm a llittle late with this post, but I think Jesus would have given them a WWJD bracelet, putting it around both of each childs little arms making it the form of a pair of handcuffs. No mess for awhile.

    love,

    Dad

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