You’d think that as often as I’ve experienced the process, I’d have potty training down to a science. There are several very good resources out there with great information on how you can successfully potty train your child. They’re very good because they have been successful with at least one of how many ever children the author had attempted it. The truth is that whatever system you might employ is bound to be successful with some children, sometimes, somewhere in the world. I had one child that all it took was an introduction. "Son, this is toilet. Toilet, son." He took it from there. Of course, his private nickname between his mother and I had always been "B.O.S." which stands for bladder of steel.
Potty training, in our home, is typically an act of desperation. The idea of three in diapers at any given point in time seems a little ridiculous. Since, once the announcement is made there is no going back, the only option for not being ridiculous is to potty train the next in line within the nine-month window of opportunity. And thus the experiment begins once again.
Little is so foreseeable as the sense of elation in parents when the youngster’s cognitive triggers begin to fire on their own. I find myself warning many inexperienced parents not to get too excited too quickly. Typically, most children will go through a couple of weeks of great success. Whatever hurdles there may have been give way to complete cooperation and tranquility. Then, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, if you’ll excuse the pun, the bottom falls out. For some reason, the child is drawn to re-experience the warm, wet and gooeyness. Worst of all, the child understands that this is not the course of direction that Mom and Dad wish to see. The child hides, pretends, tries to fix the problem themselves, often leading to puddles and trails from the back door to the bathroom, usually unnoticed until company arrives. The endurance of instruction transfers to a test of wills (and patience).
In Deuteronomy 6:7, we parents are instructed to teach the Laws of God, the Torah, diligently to our children: speaking of them when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we arise and when we retire.
The Hebrew word for "teach" is the word is "shawnan". It means to put the information inside the little one’s head. To pry open the top and pour in knowledge. It means to work with them diligently until they get it: patiently and repeatedly going over the concepts that are designed to draw us closer in communion with our loving Heavenly Father.
In Deuteronomy 11:19, the same phrase appears to be repeated; but the Hebrew is different. The word translated "teach" is the word "La-mad" which is the word for the goad (the cattle prod) that steers the wayward into the proper direction when they are inclined to wander. Just like potty training. We think we’ve gotten it all together. We’ve taught them everything they need to know. We’ve gotten them heading in the right direction. Then suddenly… what’s that smell?
The job of the parent isn’t over when we see that the kids have learned the difference between right and wrong. In reality, it has just begun. It requires careful guidance and regular interaction to keep our kids going in the direction of righteousness.
It’d be nice if we could stop there, knowing that our responsibility to our children is clearly the subject of these passages. But, it’s comforting (or not) to know that the Lord doesn’t ask anything of us that He is not require of Himself.
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth.
We find the same scenario in our lives as the Holy Spirit breaks new ground in our lives, teaching us, training us and molding us into the image of our Messiah. We find something new in the Scriptures that is life-changing and the Father reveals something in our life that we need to bring under control. There’s some teaching time as we grow to understand exactly what it is He desires from us. Often it takes us a while to understand. Sometimes we think we’ve got it but later find out we had it all wrong. Suddenly it is crystal clear and we begin to walk in a new harmony with Adonai our God that we had never before thought possible.
Then something happens. Why do we miss the sin and carnality that separated us from His intimacy? Why do we wander back to those things that we know are wrong, hiding in the corners, trying hard not to stink. Often, clumsily trying to clean up after ourselves so that no one will notice, as opposed to doing what we know was right in the first place. This isn’t a new process and our Father isn’t at all surprised. He knows us so much more than we know ourselves, and He’s been through this, oh, a couple of billion times already. We’re the ones who have to suffer through the shame, the guilt and the diaper rash. He simply loves us and goades us forward, encouraging us in the way that we should go.
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.