My grandson has been classified as a “three-nager”. Like a teenager except that he’s three years old. People refer to the “terrible twos” as being a tough phase of development to endure. That’s when they really work on being independent – “Let me do it” and simply “NO!” But when a child turns 3, they realize that they can impact their environment whenever they want.
I have a hard time believing any child is intentionally “bad”. They may be defiant or impulsive but children crave approval and acceptance. Bad behavior is certainly attention-getting behavior but is it really attention they want? Or is it the sense of power they seek? Everett’s recent episodes of destructive behavior are aimed to take his mom and dad away from what they are doing and pay attention to him. Even if the attention he received is negative, he has still succeeded in bringing their eyes toward him. I think his mind is developed enough to understand that tearing up blueprints or emptying an entire jar of skin cream all over his room is not what his parents want him to be doing. In his case, another factor in his three-year-old power struggle is the new baby sister that has come to live in his house.
I think that Christians wrestle with wanting to control their own lives, too. While Everett will outgrow his need to be in control of his environment before long, adult Christians can be reluctant to allow God to control our lives. How many times do we try to solve our own problems until we finally realize that God is there for us, wanting to help us? Maybe we realize that we are trying to unsuccessfully manage a situation and hand it over to God. It’s so easy to take back the control from God and try to solve issues when God doesn’t work on our expected time line. This is when I think a Prayer Journal can be helpful. As you pray each day, jot down the people and things you pray about. Then remain aware of these prayer concerns and how they are resolved. It is a wonderful feeling to flip back through the pages and see just how active God is in your life. God is great!
Submitted by Linda Wheeler