When I Want to Check Out

Sometimes four children seem like a lot. A lot of noise. A lot of needs. A lot of personalities. A lot of fighting. A lot of testing every single boundary.

I don’t want to overlook the fact that four children also equal a lot of love. It’s not the love that sometimes makes me feel like I’m on the edge though.

Sometimes I get very tired.

Sometimes it seems easier to let my four precious children, who I love, play their video games while I retreat into my book or my computer and have an escape.

Sometimes I do that.

Then, I realize that I’ve checked out.  That’s not what I want for them.  I want to be a parent who leans in and is engaged.

It is not loving my children when I check out and just give them what they want.  It is the opposite of love.

The Bible tells us the story of a little boy whose daddy checked out.  His name was Adonijah, and his story is told in the book of I Kings.  If you want to read the story, it’s in I Kings 1:1-14.

We are told in I Kings 1:6 that

And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.

His father never displeased him.  His father never asserted his will. His father never even questioned why Adonijah made the decisions that he made.  This didn’t seem to be a problem until his father, King David, grew old and needed to name his heir.

Adonijah decided that is should be him and had his friends name him King, even though David had appointed his son Solomon to be king.  To make a long story short, the spoiled little boy who wanted to be king was executed by Solomon because Solomon couldn’t trust him not to rebel against his rule.

After all Adonijah had never had to obey David.  Why would he obey a king that he had plotted to supplant.

Sometimes I don’t want to discipline.  Sometimes I just want to let things slide and to keep the peace. Then I remember that I am responsible before God for training my children in righteousness.  That doesn’t mean that they’ll turn out perfect.  After all, the results are up to God.  This does mean that I can’t check out, and that I must be engaged.

Author’s note: I was reminded of the story of Adonijah through Heidi St. John’s new book, Becoming Mom Strong.  I will never forget the first time I heard this story through her podcast, and the weight of conviction I had for not doing my job. I am thankful for the opportunity to read this story and contemplate it again as I have read through St. John’s book.

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