As a father, nothing, and I mean nothing, is more annoying than listening to my kids fight and bicker with each other. It literally drives me insane. Anyone else feel this way?

But why? Why does this make me so crazy? As parents we often find ourselves saying and doing crazy things as a result of our kids fighting. The other day I just stood there yelling unintelligible words [I think it was the word STOP mixed with the word NOW = SOW!] as my 7 year old boys were talking down to my 2 year old daughter. The argument was essentially a battle of 7 year old logic versus 2 year old logic, which as a parent would actually be funny if it wasn’t so annoying and accompanied by the hell-raising whining noises coming from their mouths. My boys had their Pokemon cards in neat little stacks, and my two year old daughter felt the need to swat them down. Cue the hell-raising whining noises followed by yelling and pushing with a sobbing 2 year old as a cherry on top, unable to figure out why her brothers don’t like card swatting.

I got to thinking about that yesterday and came up with some ideas about why it makes me so crazy…

I believe it bugs me so much because they are my children and there is no easy way out of the situation. It requires me to get involved and problem-solve. It makes me feel like a failure as their father. I don’t want to have to get involved. I want them to just know how to get along based on the lessons I provided them in the past. After all they are my children, not my slaves – I shouldn’t need to command them around. I feel like I shouldn’t need to give them rules to live by – they should just know by now, shouldn’t they?

Maybe not. They are just kids after all. I guess that’s what parenting is all about – showing them the right way and praying that it will eventually make sense to them – that eventually by the time they leave the confines of my protection that my desires for their good – for their best lives – will finally become their desires.

“The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.” – Galatians 4:2

As parents we make the rules because without them our “heirs” will die. They just don’t get it – as my wife Susie keeps reminding me, their little minds don’t yet have the capacity to understand right and wrong – the knowledge of good and evil. They must be told. It must be demonstrated for them.

Repeatedly.

That’s why it bugs me so much. I want them to get it. Like, now.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are growing up far too quickly before my very eyes. But sometimes I want them to learn faster. I want them to remain children but operate with my will and desires so they stop fighting with each other and start helping each other. Sometimes I wish I could just impart my will & desires – my Spirit – within them so they would “get it,” yet still remain my little children, intimate with me, under my roof, under my care – yet with my spirit of wisdom so they walk alongside me as sons instead of behind me like slaves.

“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” For the Helper, the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to.” – Galatians 4:7; John 14:26

I think all our fighting and bickering frustrated God too. I think it frustrated Him to the point of death. It frustrated Him for the same reason it frustrates us. After all, we are made in His likeness. Relational. Loving. Nurturing – with all the joy and frustrations that go along with it. He will never leave us or forsake us, but we sure grieve Him from time to time.

We all pay a steep price for our children – for them to “get it”. Thousands of hours requiring truckloads of patience. Buckets of blood, sweat and tears are the prerequisite for even a chance at success.
  
The joy of parenting is watching as our kids finally start to get it. It warms our heart like beaming rays of sunshine as they willingly cling to the essence – the spirit – of what we taught them.
  
Without. Being. Told.
 
I watch on as my 7 year old son encourages my two year old daughter as she colors her picture, or as my two sons give up their favorite things for the sake of the other. As they get older and older my rules and commands will begin to fall off their souls like training wheels off a bike. Not because they aren’t good rules, but because they have accepted and trusted in my wisdom which has taught them how to ride the bike.
 
That’s my child.


When they come of age they will leave my rules behind completely and be free – relying instead on the deposit of wisdom I’ve placed within them rather than the confines of my rules – rules which I hate having to enforce

God is like that too. 

Rules are not needed where His Spirit exists. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). We still may fall down from time to time, and those times may serve as reminders about why the rules once existed. But rather than try to put training wheels on a mountain bike, we must get back up and keep riding the bike in freedom, not only because our Father told us to, but because we simply like being with Him where He is – in complete freedom.

God doesn’t want slaves and servants, He wants sons and daughters. He wants to share all that He is and all that He has with those who seek His own heart – with those who take ownership and responsibility in His estate.

Without. Being. Told.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant doesn’t know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends.” – Jesus
Written by: Jeff Berger