Deck the Halls with Temper Tantrums

By Cindy Koch

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In the fall, around this time of year, something incredible happens to our children. They are a bit excited, as events start preparing us for big holidays and Christmas lists begin to form. We set aside time for special meals and gatherings with friends and family. The sparkly decorations emerge from boxes. Distinct smells and sounds and coffee flavors mark the beginning of the holiday season. And our children begin to change.

Now one may imagine that they would drink in all of the thankfulness, giving, and good cheer. Maybe that our little darlings would gather gladly with the rest of us and be the examples of childlike expectation for the happiness and warmth of the season. You would think. Until it gets around to this time of year and we remember, once again, what goes on in the mind of our little ones.

Oh yes, it is the season of good cheer as the candy hangover from Halloween continues until the New Year. We are all wishing for an uneventful Christmas – as the stress level of family rises and seasonal pressures are knocking at the door. Ask any parent or teacher that attempts to capture the focus of a group of these holiday maniacs and you will hear how much more “energetic” the kids have been, lately.

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And we, their parents, are wondering – what is wrong with them? What is wrong with me? Why are they so ungrateful? Why are they being so disrespectful? Where did that attitude come from? It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year!!

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

And we realize, we see it with our eyes in our very own children, the twisted world in which we live. Our children are bad. Sure, some of us will ignore this blatant truth, because “children are innocent”, you know. Some of us will try to overcome this embarrassing truth by implementing systems of reward or punishment. Some of us will be crushed by this discouraging truth when we feel it so close to home, and we will not know where to turn for help. And then a few of us will look those nasty little kids in the eyes and boldly face up to God’s truth.

Our children are sinners.

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This time of year, we get to experience all the joys and temper tantrums, creativity and mischief, love and frustrations of our children. Through this all, we gladly call each of them what they are: a child in need of a savior.

Our Savior said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Receiving the cure for the deadly disease that we all face – sin – goes hand in hand with receiving the diagnosis. When we are destroyed and devastated by our shortcomings, Jesus cradles our sin-sick heart, forgives us, and renews us. When our kids remind us of the childish selfish monster that hides in all of our hearts, we also look expectantly to our Savior.

Of course, make the list… check it twice… find out who’s been naughty and nice… Use these situations to teach your children manners and love for their neighbor. Make sure they know how very wrong and unloving they can act. Open their eyes to the disease that they have. Then forgive them. And they will learn to cling tightly to the One who has saved them from death.

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