Sunday, July 20, 2014

#MOMories - You can...

...but you may not.

I remember very vividly my various "Can I?" conversations with my Mum - over 25 years ago. Just like I learnt the difference between "lend" and "give" - that's a story-lesson for another day.
My Mum had a superb command of English. If I may say, she understood and spoke English in English - can't stress what I mean any further. I didn't quite get the difference so when I'd go to her and ask: "Mummy, can I _______ - this or that?", her response was predictably the same: "Yes you can, but you may not."
 
Read the last 2 sentences again and let it all sink in.
 
Now, I use the same phrase on my children for 2 reasons - it is:
1) important that they understand how to ask for permission properly; and
2) even more important that I don't downplay their capacity and capabilities.
 
Let me break it down:
 
When you ask "Can I?", you're actually questioning your ability (& willingness) to do something. For example, if my son comes and asks me "Mummy, can I cook something to eat?" - we're in the eating almost everything in sight age and stage - of course, I hope and pray that he can because my husband and I are doing our best to teach our children how to cook. However, the fact that he can doesn't mean that I want or will permit him to. So guess what my response will be? Good guess - yes it will be: "Yes you can, but you may not." If the question is rephrased and asked as: "May I cook something to eat?", my answer could be either "Yes," "No" or "Not now."
 
In granting children, or even ourselves, permission to do something, we should pay close attention to the words we use.
 
Philippians 4:13 reminds us that: I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.*
I remember sharing a while ago about how one of my son's teacher taught them to rephrase the defeatist "I can't" to a determined "I can try." (ADD POST LINK) Not only can we try...we can do all things (that bring God glory) through Christ Who strengthens us.
 
The world was formed and still exists by the Word of God.** Our world and those if our children will be formed (or destroyed - God forbid) by our words. So the next time, your (a) child comes and asks: "Can I do this or that?", think before you respond.
 
Note: I'm posting this memory of my Mum aka "MOMories" 5 months before my brothers and I mark 25 years since she passed and 5 days after the last day I saw my dad alive 3 years ago... Lord, thank You for blessing me with amazing parents.
 
As they come to mind, I'll share other #MOMories...feel free to share yours too.

References:
*God's Word Translation
** Psalm 33:6, 9 - The Lord created the heavens by his command, the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word. When he spoke, the world was created; at his command everything appeared. (GNT)
 

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