I'm guessing many Christian parents can recite this verse by heart:
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Somehow, subconsciously in my mind, I think I revised this verse. It says, "Be tough and consistent with my toddler, and when he is about 4 or 5, things will surly get easier." So as Caleb pushed my buttons when he was 2, I just kept telling myself that if I was tough and consistent, one day I would wake up and he would be calmer, more obedient. I was very frustrated at one point when he was about 3. I would ask other parents who I thought were wise and had "good kids" why he was still acting certain ways. Many would just tell me, "It could just be his personality." For some reason, that answer just didn't make me feel any better! By the time he was 4, I thought...ok, my day is coming...he's going to be good this year!
Evidently, that day has arrived.
Over the last several weeks and months, the "grown-ups" in his life have began to tell me how they've noticed Caleb behaving so nicely. Sunday School teachers, AWANA leaders, Children's Church volunteers, friends and family - at some point, someone in each of these categories has mentioned they've seen a difference. I think yesterday might have been the most encoraging comment for me: one of his Sunday School teachers (who is also a kindergarten teacher) tugged on my choir robe as we were greating one another, and she said, "Caleb is quite the little man lately. He's really maturing." I smiled, and I think if I would have been in a more emotional state-of-mind, I would have cried!
Now this is not to say that I still don't have to work hard at it. I feel like he's at a different level now. I have to be on him about speaking respectfully to me (and Josh) when he doesn't get his way. He still sometimes takes toys from Sarah when they're playing. But overall, and let me add PRAISE THE LORD, he has began to be a sweet little boy.
I do not say any of this in a boastful way at all. In fact, if you're reading this and have been close to Caleb since he's been about 2, you know the struggles I've endured! I think I say it all to encourage others and to thank the ones who have encouraged me. It means a lot to hear that he's doing better.
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