A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help with our school-aged kids at church. The theme for the month was self-control. The Bible story, the illustrations, the activities, and the Bible verse all reinforced the same Biblical truth. Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” I really thought that was a great verse for the kids. All the media they engage in for hours, the tantrums they throw when they don’t like what their parents say, the fights they get into with their siblings because they can’t control their temper. In an effort to help them apply this lesson I asked the kids if they had any examples of when they needed to have more self-control. You could hear crickets. I gave some vague examples of when certain drivers have road rage and when my toddler had temper tantrums. But, while I stopped and listened to one boy tell of times when his parents had lost their temper while driving, I wracked my brain for a personal example of when I had lost self control lately. Crickets. I couldn’t think of a single time that I had struggled with my behavior related to self-control (this was before the girl scout cookies arrived in my house). So, we moved to the next activity.
The next morning was supposed to be a relaxed Monday for me. I didn’t need to be anywhere all day. So, my son was eating his pancakes and I was still in my pajamas around 7:45, when I realized I needed to drop something off at the office before 8. My peaceful state of mind evaporated. I threw on jeans and a hat (not a baseball cap by the way it was a fleece puppy dog hat that I wear in the winter) put my son’s pancakes on the kitchen counter and rushed to the office and dropped off what I needed to. Thinking my stressful task of the day was over we returned home to discover that I probably should have crated the dog. Despite the fact the pancakes had been placed in the center of the counter the dog had managed to finish them off (enter screaming toddler). Not only that, the paper towel they were on was in a gazillion shreds around the house. I was so mad. This dog!!! To get my point across to the dog (he’s still a puppy) I screamed “BAD DOG!!” several times. I was not exactly following the puppy training handbook. In a rage I tossed him outside and proceeded to clean up the mess. At this point I found a puddle of tee tee that must have come from our older dog who was totally freaked out by my screaming. My anger burned!!! This relaxing morning had been a total loss. After a new pancake had been served, shreds of paper picked up, and the urine mopped I let the dog back in. Immediately my son began screaming at the undeserving puppy “bad dog!” Ah. Out of the mouth of babes…
I had taught a lesson this morning, just not the right one.
Sometimes I think of myself as better than I am. How about you? Less than 24 hours after I attempted to teach the kids at church about self-control I had totally failed at it. While I was still pretty mad about how the morning was going I could hear loud and clear that the Holy Spirit was teaching me. I listened…until the girl scout cookies came home.