You can’t always get what you want…”
Will someone please tell me they also hear the Rolling Stones singing in their head when they read those words?
Because I do.
And sometimes when I say those words to our children I consider breaking out in song – they’ve never heard it before so will likely wonder what is wrong with me as I belt it out. I should rehearse now so I’m prepared for teenage years when they’ll really enjoy my off-key singing.
All singing aside, the lesson in these words MUST be learned.
You CAN’T always get what you want. You WON’T. And you SHOULDN’T.
As parents, it is our job to teach this lesson. Unfortunately, the task is not easy and is often met with frustration, sighs, crying and general displeasure. We fight against the prevalent worldly influence of entitlement and the pressure to make our children happy regardless of the cost.
I don’t like saying “No” and sometimes I feel like I’m saying it too much. I don’t like to see their disappointment and quivering lips..but there are simply some things we need to say NO to.
There are things we just CAN’T give them – due to insufficient finances, skills or time. There are things we just WON’T give them – due to values, priorities or necessity. And there are things we just SHOULDN’T give them – like letting them win every time so they never learn how to lose. Or doing things that require us to favor one child over another or to risk safety or health…Or simply because they’re whining…
It seems so logical here on this screen…but perserverance is often DIFFICULT. HARD.
Especially when my husband is out-of-town, or when I’m tired, or when the kids are tired, or it’s just Monday…it WOULD be easier (for me) to just give them that second popsicle. It WOULD be easier (for me) to pick up the toys for them than to hear them cry while they do it at a snails-pace.
Why, oh WHY, am I putting
them myself through this? Because giving in won’t make it easier on me in the long run. And it wont’ make life easier for our children either.
The stakes are too high to take the easy way out.
I DO want our children to be happy, but not because of STUFF, endless activities or getting everything they ask for. I want them to be happy because they know the Lord – after that, everything else falls into place.
It won’t always be fun for them and it surely won’t be fun for us. It’s a good thing I hear a song in my head that makes me smile when I say those dreaded words…
They have to learn that their perception of fairness may not be what happens. They have to experience not getting what they want in order to be thankful for what they DO have and what they are privileged to DO. They need to learn what absolute truth is, and what God has to say about our behavior.
Our goal is to raise adults – contributing members of society who do not expect things handed to them. And who understand that everything is a gift from God and that no one owes them anything.
Some days…it seems like a lofty goal. Far away. A struggle met with tears, eye-rolls and confusion. Sometimes I feel like giving in to demands and whines. But the big picture matters too much. Failure just isn’t an option. We have to WIN.
I am grateful that with persistence, small victories become more frequent – moments when disappointment rolls off their shoulders and they understand and accept it. Success is measured in small victories. When they say ‘OK mama’, and go back to playing without batting an eye, I call that success!
Small victories promise adults who know the difference between WANT and NEED.
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need”
All those small victories promise success of the ultimate goal – a God-loving, content and grateful adult. So with perseverance and great hope for victory, I cling to the promise:
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” – Proverbs 22:6