By Wu Yao
I am a single mother, and after a divorce I lived with my-five-year-old daughter. Although life was simple and happy, I could not control my naughty child. She was so troublesome it gave me headaches to try to make her obedient.
One day, I got up early to clean the house and cook breakfast. After that, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 7:30 am, so I went to my daughter’s room and yelled, “Yanyan, get up, you are late for school!” My daughter turned the opposite way in bed. “I don’t wanna go to school. I wanna sleep.” The daughter was so angry she basically cried and put her covers over her head. “Last night I told you to get to bed early and you didn’t, now you’re tired because you didn’t get enough sleep. Get up now, or I’m going to get grumpy.” When I saw my daughter stay in bed, I raised my voice, “Get up right this moment!” I tried to pull her out of bed, and she struggled while I did. “Brush your teeth!” “No!” “Wash your face!” “No!” “Brush your hair!” “No!” … Seeing her so rebellious angered me. Why isn’t she listening to me? I tried to be patient. The simple routine in the morning took over half an hour that day because she was so resistant to my commands.
In the afternoon I picked her up from the preschool. I started to do math homework with her, but she was so restless. She always found an excuse to leave the table: I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I need to go to the bathroom. My head was about to explode with anger. Soon, Aunt Wang visited us. The daughter was so happy now that she didn’t have to do homework. She dropped her pencil and opened the box of milk cartons brought by Aunt Wang, and there was a toy in it. My daughter couldn’t wait to play with it. After a short while, the toy broke. I thought to myself: “Why is my daughter so immature? She is simply too rough with the toy. I’m going to teach her a lesson after the guest leaves!” While I was talking to our guest, my daughter tried to drink some milk. Because she had had a cough for the last few days, I told her she couldn’t have milk, but she didn’t listen to me. She opened a carton of milk and drank it, and said it tasted bad in front of our guest. I was so embarrassed at the fact that my daughter was that disrespectful. I pulled her to the side and said seriously, “We have a guest in the house right now, have some manners. You are a good kid, but a good kid should listen.” My daughter not only rejected me, but she started to raise her voice without reason, talking and singing. I could barely contain my anger, but since there was a guest in the house I couldn’t make a scene. After Aunt Wang left, I still tried to suppress my anger, and I continued to do math with her, but she kept coughing and said she didn’t want to do anymore math because she didn’t feel good. She ran into her room. I went to check on her. She was sneakily eating candy behind my back. I had been patient with her, but the daughter never took my words seriously and challenged my limits. Thinking of that, I finally snapped at her …
At night, my daughter fell asleep. My daughter was crying in her sleep, and I felt bad that I had lashed out at her so harshly. Every time I yelled at her, I always felt bad. I didn’t know when she started becoming so naughty. Once something didn’t go her way, she would become rebellious and not listen at all. I used all the energy I possessed to raise her, but it just translated into her resistance and naughtiness. I felt so disappointed and helpless.
I always got along with the brothers and sisters in the church very well. Even if we sometimes had disagreement, when we accepted things from God, we still were able to work it out. Why was it when it came to my daughter, the person I was closest to in the world, I had no patience for her? Why did I yell at her time and time again? I didn’t act like a Christian at all. Later, I prayed to God so many times, but every time I saw her being resistant I couldn’t help but yell and scream at her. This became a problem that caused me a lot of pain.
One day, I ran into Sister Lin, whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. I told her what was giving me trouble. Sister Lin gave me a book and said: “All the words in this book are God’s words. They can solve all of our problems. We are going to pray and count on God. We believe that God will guide us to solve all of our problems.” After I got home, I couldn’t wait to read the book. There was one paragraph that really enlightened my heart: “what do many think? The parent is always right. They have the point of view that ‘As long as it’s for the child’s sake, what I’m doing is right.’ How is it you don’t have mistakes? You too are a corrupted human being, how can you be without error? How can you determine that you are without error? As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes. You can make mistakes, yet at every turn how is it that you try to take charge of others, take charge of your children, and have them at every turn listen to you? Is this not an arrogant disposition? This is an arrogant disposition and a ferocious one at that” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”). These words directly touched the bottom of my soul. Yes, parents are always worrying about their children. They think they can do no wrong, and that no matter what they do, it is all for the good of the children they are taking care of. When the young kids become rebellious, parents have to discipline them and take responsibility for them. So when my daughter did something not to my standards, I tried to teach her a lesson, but she still didn’t listen to me. I felt like my authority was challenged. If I didn’t discipline her, she wouldn’t know who her mother is. But I never thought that I too was a human being who have been corrupted by Satan. Not only do I not have the truth, but I am filled with my own intentions and desires. I ask my daughter to listen to everything that I say. This is a satanic disposition of arrogance. Now I feel terribly ashamed, embarrassed beyond belief.
So I kept reading: “Many might well , and in appearance they look very spiritual, but as how to treat their children, and as to how children are to treat their parents, they do not have a clue in their views and attitudes how to put the truth into practice in these cases, and what principles should be applied in treating these matters and dealing with them. They do not know. And for what reason? A parent is always a parent, and in a parent’s eyes children are always children. With this correlation the relationship between parent and child becomes very difficult to deal with, and it’s very hard for both sides to get along with each other. Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their children become at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: ‘Regardless of when, you won’t get away from your mother (your father); you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my offspring, my children. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.’ This is a hurtful, a pitiable viewpoint for a parent to have, and hurtful for their children as well, who will be exhausted by it. Isn’t this the case?” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”). These words were so true. They portrayed my exact situation. Because I am her mother, my daughter is supposed to listen to me, so I tried to teach her lessons assuming my place as a parent. This wrong point of view is harmful and exhausting for me and my daughter. No wonder my daughter is keeping a distance from me. In the past, she was always attached to me, but now she always asks for her grandma. How can I solve this problem?
I kept reading: “How is the truth to be practiced in this case? (By letting go of one’s own status.) … That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have control of their every aspect. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things, but, no matter what happens, sit down and calmly chat with them, talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and status.)” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”). From these words I found the answer to my problem: letting go of my own status as a parent. I will still take care of her in daily life, but I should change my attitude and point of view. I will stop trying to control her just because I raised her. I should allow her to be immature and make mistakes. When I thought about this, I felt relieved and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I prayed to God that I would act like this.
One night, I took my daughter to the park to play. She found her friend Xuanxuan, and she was playing there too. They played for over an hour and had such a good time. When we were heading home, the two girls walked in front and Xuanxuan’s mom and I walked in the back. By the time we got to the park exit, we lost sight of the two girls. We couldn’t find them anywhere. I searched inside the park while Xuanxuan’s mom waited at the gate. There were so many people at the park that it was impossible to find them. I was scared since there was a kid abducted in the park some time ago. I silently cried for God’s help while I looked some more. All of a sudden, I saw two children crying in the distance. I hurried over in anxiety and anger and found they were right my daughter and Xuanxuan. Seeing them safe, my eyes brimmed with tears. My daughter was crying: “Mom disappeared! Mom doesn’t want me anymore! …” I was annoyed when she said that. Was it that I didn’t want you anymore, or was it that you ran away from me? I better give you a big lesson so you don’t run away anymore. I was just about to yell at her, but then I thought of the words: “let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things, but, no matter what happens, sit down and calmly chat with them, talk with them, communicate and seek” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”). These words calmed my heart. Anger didn’t solve problems, and my daughter was already scared as was. So I cried to God in my heart in order to not let my satanic disposition of arrogance take over. I bent over and wiped the tears off my daughter’s face and reasoned with her calmly. My daughter exclaimed: “Mom, I understand now, I will never run away from you ever again.”
Since that day, every time we go out, my daughter always stays near me. Even when she plays with her friends, she will always look for me once in a while. I know this is God’s doing. After I let go of my status, my daughter listens to me more and more, and I always talk to her in a calm tone and reason with her. I never force her using my will again. After the implementation of this practice, gradually it becomes effortless to get my daughter out of bed. I don’t even have to watch her do homework anymore. Days ago, I took her to visit a colleague’s house. My colleague complimented my daughter for her amazing etiquette. I felt relief, and I felt it was no longer difficult to be a parent anymore. Through these experiences, I have truly realized how great it is to let go of your status and become a happy parent!
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