Who’s got the power?!?

A game of tug of war

Have you ever watched a two year old who doesn’t want to be potty trained?  Well, I have and what I see is a great big power play.  Who has the power in this situation?  I can tell you that the parent certainly wants to have the power but do they really?

What makes the parent feel like they can “get” the child to potty train?  One reason is because the parent is, well, the parent, the adult.  They know that the child is capable of toilet training.  The parents have watched as little Suzie runs over to the corner and hides when she could have run to the bathroom.  Then Mom proceeds to take her to the diaper table and changes her all the while saying something like…”Now Suzie, next time you need to go potty tell Mommy and we’ll go in the big potty.  Anyway, you get the drift.

This is power at its height for the two year old.  The adult wants something and the child doesn’t want to give it to them.  If your child were older and this was, say, an ipod or a TV remote you could tell them that you wanted that item and if they didn’t give it to you there would be a punishment involved.  The child would then choose whether or not to take the consequence.  The power is all yours at this point.  You’re the parent and you know best.  The child either hands over the offending item or you take it and the child gets a punishment.  Either way you have won the battle.

But in the case of a two year old you aren’t going to win this battle.  And the reason you’re not going to win is because you have no power over the child’s body.  To poop or not to poop, that is the question.  And the child is the only one that has the answer.  They will be potty trained when they want and that’s the end of the discussion.  Oh, you can cajole them with a candy or a treat.  You can buy that cutsie toilet seat, read the latest book and watch a video.  But in the end it’s the child’s decision and theirs alone.

I wonder if that’s how God sees us.  We are His children and He has allowed us free will to choose what we want to do.  He has given us the Bible to guide us, Pastors to lead us and so many different signposts to help us along the way.  But still we choose  our own way.

In the case of the two year old we know that in the end that child WILL become potty trained.  But for right now, they have all the power.

In the end we know that God wins but right now we still have the “power”.  The question is, How will you use it?

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