Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bend or Break

She's sitting in his chair. HIS chair. He doesn't deviate, not at meal time, not when he's crafting, not at any point does he ever choose to sit elsewhere. That's ok, though. It's his choice. He has plans and ideas and he rarely likes to change the course of them. I like his orderliness.

"Hey there's two other chairs to sit in. Which one would you like?" I ask him.

He's not interested. I can see it in his eyes. He's mad and that little sister is still sitting there in all of her two year old glory, very pleased to not be sitting in a booster chair. That one, she's intent on being big.

"Honey, just pick another chair. Look, this one has a lot of light behind it. It's perfect for being able to see your picture while you're drawing." (He can probably hear the pleading underneath the attempted persuasion).

Not buying it. I can see him getting frustrated. I can hear it now, too.

"Get out of my chair!!!"

Nonplussed his sister doesn't react.

The anger is starting to spill forth and I know that I need to quench this fire before it becomes too hot. I'm starting to feel some frustration myself at his reaction to (in my opinion) an inconsequential situation. I'm wracking my brain trying to pull forth a scripture from the recesses of my consciousness. Nothing. Scripture memorization has never been my strong point.

Grabbing my smart phone and googling "scripture on flexibility" I urgently open up the serving spoon drawer. There it is, that chipped wooden spoon and there, the red spatula.

"Buddy do you know what flexible means?" He shakes his head no.

I explain to him how a wooden spoon is inflexible. It doesn't bend. It can only do one thing and that if too much pressure is put on it, eventually it will break - just the way ours has. A spatula on the other hand can curve and soften to the shape of a bowl or plate to allow more movement. You can bend it and it will not break. Both utensils have a job and a purpose, but one is flexible and the other is not.

Then, I ask him quietly, "Would you rather be the spoon, inflexible and always doing things only one way? Or, would you rather be the spatula and when caused to bend can do so without breaking? Let's be flexible and let your sister sit there, and enjoy the view from a new spot." I know that it's not all sinking in right now. He's still upset, and it's going to take more time and more experience.

It gets me thinking about my own idiosyncrasies though. It makes me think about how I get frustrated about the house getting messy or the kids dumping all that sand we bought out of the sandbox... It causes me to consider that God doesn't call us to a life of routine, but rather a life of constant change.

Change, metamorphosis, transformation = growth. 

If we want to live a life of fulfillment and meaning we will perpetually be required to modify our behaviors. We will have to be:

1. capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent: a flexible ruler.
2. susceptible of modification or adaptation; adaptable: a flexible schedule.
3. willing or disposed to yield; pliable: a flexible personality.

And yes, God does promise that we can change. He promises that we can bend, be flexible and become improved.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17


  1. That was a really good illustration to share with him! I wouldn't have thought of that.

  2. What a great lesson in flexibility. Something we all should learn.

  3. What a great analogy! Thanks for sharing. He's lucky to have a creative mommy teaching him how to learn symbolically.

  4. Such a smart analogy for the kids! This is awesome!

  5. Great post! Those lessons I try to teach my kids usually go straight to my own heart as well. I love the analogy!

    1. Thanks, Ai! I always feel like I'm learning more from them than I could ever teach.


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