I will never forget the day my husband uttered those epic words to my headstrong one year old. That beautiful tiny dictator was attempting a coup and it had to be stopped.
You are not the boss. You are the baby!
Although his words were meant for that moment, they were – and are – a great summary of our parenting philosophy.
You see, God gave us five beautiful children. And they have all come to us as sinners. Every single one. I kept waiting for one of them to be righteous, but they’ve proved the verse true “There is no one righteous, not even one;” (Rom. 3:10)
And because we love them, we refuse to allow those precious little heathens to rule our home. Have you seen a home run by precious little heathens? It isn’t pretty. Children are naturally selfish beings. They are demanding and obstinate. While this is completely acceptable when they are helpless newborns, it’s a trait that surely cannot be allowed to persist. And yet it does. So many adults walk this planet as self-seeking as a newborn baby. How sad for them. Where were their parents?
Yes, mom and dad. This task lies with us.
Unfortunately this act of surrender (aka salvation) doesn’t happen at age 1, 2 or 3. It may not happen for many years. So in the interim, we must convince these tiny tyrants that they will not rule our homes, that they will obey, that they will conform to our expectations of them. OBEY. CONFORM. These words might offend you. I’m okay with that. Because I know that in our home we do all of these things out of love.
Hebrews 12: 6 says, “For the Lord disciplines those he loves.” And we do the same. You see, I love my children too much to allow them to be that disrespectful kid in the class. Because I love them, I teach them to be self-controlled so that one day they will not give in to destructive habits like alcohol, sexual promiscuity and drugs. It’s out of love that I require them to do chores so that one day they will be an excellent employee worthy of promotion.
But ultimately I want to bring them to a place where I no longer have to discipline them, because they choose to receive instruction from the Lord… who loves them even more than I do.
Maybe you are struggling with tiny tyrants right now. Maybe the peace in your home ebbs and flows with the whims of a toddler’s moods. Do your kids refuse to sleep, eat what you prepare and follow your instructions? Maybe you are feeling like all you do is satisfy the demands of your children. If so, I’d encourage you to step back and reevaluate. Is that baby, toddler or young child the boss of your home? If so, it’s not too late for a change. Grab the bullhorn, stand tall and declare to all those gorgeous heathens… You are not the boss. You are the baby!