I got a little prayer journal for the boys for Christmas. It has fill-in-the-blanks for their prayers; "I love you because...", "I am sorry for...", "thank you for...", "I need..." and a place for answered prayers.
Teaching children the concepts of needs vs. wants, love vs. thanks is difficult. I try to just write down what they say, because it is their prayer. I do make attempts to discuss the concepts with them, however, if the opportunity arises. I hope to look back over the years and see their spirituality evolve from "I love you because you let me have a Turbo Tank for my birthday" to something deeper, more meaningful. I want them to understand that we don't love/hate God just because he gives/doesn't give us what we want. Love is bigger than that.
Earlier this week we came to the "I am sorry for..." section. Deacon piped up with "I am sorry that I dropped my lego stormtrooper's gun down the drain." Poor Deacon. He will still come out of his room at night sometimes and cry telling me how bad he feels about losing that gun. I have told him and told him that it was an accident, he didn't mean to drop it. I tell him that he can be sad about it and try to be more careful next time, but that he has to forgive himself. I try to tell him there is a difference between feeling bad about something we do by accident and needing forgiveness for wronging someone intentionally.
But it concerns me because I am the same way. I beat myself up over things that I can't control, things that I need to let go. I don't want him to hang on to accidents, ruminate on them, never be willing to let them go. Yes, of course I want him to learn from his mistakes, and I want him to feel guilt when he does something wrong and needs to ask for forgiveness, but I wish he wasn't so hard on himself.
He also has a really hard time letting stuff go. He cried when we had to throw out his old shoes. He gets practically hysterical when it is time to sort through stuff and give stuff away- even when it is not his stuff.
And I don't know what to do about it.
Noah and I both have a tough time relenquishing our hold on "stuff" and it plagues us. I did not want to pass this on to my children. I want them to hold the things of this world loosely, and instead store up treasures in heaven. And I want to teach them that. But it is so hard!
And so I plod on tonight, attempting to teach both Deacon and myself what it means to forgive and what it means to let go.