Proverbs 22:6 - Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.
Could it be possible, that after all these years, my 11-year-old son was finally interested in his own personal hygiene? I had been praying for this day to come, at last it was here, or so I thought.
Dinner had just ended and he asked if he could take another bath, a second one for him today, which would be a record. The only time my son ever asks to take a bath is when he is anxious about something, which brings on a headache and nausea.
My gratitude for his growth in the area of cleanliness quickly turned to a place of concern as I started to think about all the things that happened today and tried to recall if something happened that could have caused him to be anxious.
As I was walking through this mental process of recalling the day, my son came in my room and asked if we could talk. He proceeded to tell me that he thought he knew why he was getting headaches. I was right; it was not a matter of hygiene but rather anxiety. The bath has always had away of helping him to calm down.
I put on my best set of listening ears, looked him straight in the eyes and gave him my full attention. I could hear fear in his voice as he poured out his heart. He shared with me how he had tried to call me this morning to ask if he could put some sugar in his cereal. When I did not answer, he decided he would do it anyway, even though he knew that it was something I did not usually allow.
He looked down in shame as he finished confessing doing what he knew he should not have done and then looked back at me and asked if I would forgive him. Of course, I told him he was forgive before he even asked.
I quickly came to the realization that this was a great teaching moment and though the incident did not seem very important, the incident was extremely significant in the fact that I wanted him to know that he could always come to me. It was not about the sugar but rather the secret that was making him sick. I told him his conscience was working and that this was a good thing.
I was able to share with him that as he gets older he will find the temptations to be greater, the trials stronger and the falls even harder. We talked about the importance of confessing what we have done and how healing comes from that. A promise from our creator, “confess your sins to one another and you will be healed.”
In addition, I told him that from now on he could decide on sugar in his cereal. I want him to always remember that it was the secret not the sugar that had made him sick.