My Son is 47, he is married and the Father of three. He has always been an over-achiever – which has rewarded him with many accomplishments and great job positions. His co-workers love him and do all they can to assist him in his job endeavors. His attitude in life is always positive and he loves to help and encourage others.
So, why would I label him “strong willed” and how did he arrive where he is today? I’ll take you back to when he was a very young child. I knew I was in trouble when he had his first “temper tantrum” at 3 months. He held his breath so long that his face was turning blue. He wanted to be fed in 2 ½ hours – and I wanted him to wait another hour. He won that battle.
The Bible says in Jer. 17:9 – “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”. Our basic nature is to be “self-centered” to the point of being deceitful. My child was desperate to get fed when he wanted. This nature dominates a “strong willed child”. When things were going well for him, he was a happy and loving child. I knew he loved life at its fullest, yet I couldn’t trust him out of my sight. Once I was getting dressed and after a few minutes, I went to check on him, only to find that he had climbed onto the dining room table and was swinging on the hanging light fixture. When he was older, he was cursed with the world’s largest sweet tooth. I had to hide every sweet snack in the house. He’d find my hidden snacks and help himself – knowing there would be a punishment – but it was worth it to him because he got what he wanted.
Discipline was constant – I became the genius at new ways to get ahead of him. I think he looked forward to the challenge. I, on the other hand, quoted in my head over and over, “this too shall pass” – and it did. When he was around 10, he asked Jesus into his heart – to take away his sins. Slowly we saw him try harder to be obedient. Today he is a polished gem – full of intense love for the Lord and living a life full of love and happiness. What a blessing that is.
There are many blessings raising a child like him. The one most important to me was to see how God could use his young life and channel his antics into good behavior. It surly didn’t happen overnight, but God used his loving personality in many ways and today he loves to reach out to others. The next important blessing is that I became very close to him. I knew his every thought. I could read his mind. We were so connected to each other – he watched me to see what he could sneak by me and I was always watching him, trying to stay ahead of him. We were a team, but we were on opposite teams.
Many times I forgot that God chose me to be his Mother. God trusted me to raise him to be a servant to be used by God – and he is. He is a “Beacon for God” – and that was only made possible because both of us responded to God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. It was a constant battle, yet the battle was actually won by both of us.
I, over the years have been surprised with all the “strong willed” children I’ve seen. I do notice that God usually only gives one strong willed child in a household. We can be thankful for that. I love giving advice and I have given so many tips to parents – like “change your routines”. They read us and they expect certain behaviors from us. When you mess up their plans it makes them mad and it proves to them that they are not the boss and they are not in control after all. I have been so blessed with those that I’ve helped. I love to see the changes happen. Whenever I can, I remind them that it is only for a season – and “this too shall pass”. God makes no mistakes and God is always good.
What creative ways have you found that work with developing your strong willed child for Christ?