Here’s my top-ten Mom Mottos (in no particular order):
(2) You’re interrupting…
(3) Can you try saying that again, but without whining?
(4) We only color on paper.
(5) Your shirt is NOT a tissue!
(6) I’m NOT going to tell you again! (and then I totally do)
(7) Are you making an honoring face or a dishonoring face?
(8) You have two seconds to stop that.
(9) Get your finger out of your nose!
(10) Get your hands out of your pants! (moms of boys will feel me here)
But during a visit with my family, I picked up another great Mom Motto from my sister Caroline (who, incidentally, has three boys). I heard her tell one of her sons: “You have two options. You can choose to ________ (obey) or you can choose to _______ (insert punishment). Which option will you choose?”
As soon as I heard it, I immediately filed it away in my brain’s I-want-to-be-a-better-mom file.
So, in case you have one of those mental storage bins, here’s how the motto usually works out in my house: “You have two options. You can either pick up the playroom like I asked or you can go spend some quiet time by yourself in your room. Which option do you choose?”
And because Option A (obedience) usually sounds better than Option B (punishment for disobedience), the twins typically chose the first option. I use this method because I want to convey to my children that obedience and disobedience are choices the Bible describes as wise and foolish, respectively. I want my boys to know their choices matter.
In Ps. 21, I can’t help but picture David framing for his children the two options presented them in life.
According to David, those two options look like two divergent paths – the path of salvation and the path of destruction. Both end at two different destinations.
So, here’s your two options in life – pulled straight from Ps. 21:
Option A: Salvation brings blessings of goodness (vs. 3)
Option B: Disobedience brings punishment from the hand of God (vs. 8)
Option A: Salvation brings eternal life (vs. 4)
Option B: Disobedience brings death in a fiery oven (vs. 9)
Option A: Salvation brings glory, honor, and majesty (vs. 5)
Option B: Disobedience removes any legacy we hope to have (vs. 10)
Option A: Salvation brings gladness from the presence of God (vs. 6)
Option B: Disobedience brings futility and failure in endeavors (vs. 11)
Option A: Salvation brings confidence (vs. 7)
Option B: Disobedience brings instability and death (vs. 12)
The choices are pretty clear. Option A is the better choice – by far.
My own children are still learning that the temporal satisfaction of Option B will never outweigh the eternal rewards of Option A.
And I’m learning too – mainly that I do my children no favors when I shout out threats, repeat instructions like a broken record, or teach my children to delay their obedience until I’ve counted to three (which I’ve totally done – and did last night – by the way!) I want my children to obey because it is the right and wise choice. But ultimately, I want my children to learn what loving obedience looks like with a far greater choice looming for them in the future.
Interestingly, in Ps. 21 both Option A and Option B are accomplished by the same powerful Hand – the Hand that created them and is worthy to be praised. God is the loving parent who does not shirk from his duty to guide his children toward wise choices and discipline them when they make foolish ones.
Now, if I could just be the type of mother who consistently strives to guide her children toward the path of salvation, patiently waiting for the eternal and precious rewards that come with the difficult choices before them.
Now, that’s a message I wouldn’t mind listening to over and over again!
What Mom Mottos do you find yourself repeating? Somebody should really start writing those down! Praying we can step out of our cliches and into God’s Word as diligent mothers.
Did you miss a post in my Psalms series? Check them out here.