My daughter's pacifier phase lasted much longer than the acceptable paci regulations would allow. When we finally discussed giving it up, Crosbie decided she wanted to give it to Mickey Mouse. Whatever works, right? So, we packed up her paci's and headed to the Disney Store (I know, I know, but it was the best I could come up with). The workers at the store had apparently been down this road before, and without a second thought, they took her pacifiers and told her that Mickey was so proud of her. They even filled out a certificate for her and gave her a gift bag! She left the store beaming and never asked for her pacifier again. It was obvious that I had this parenting thing down.
I began, "One time, when I was a little girl...." (insert touching story about giving up my pacifier but being happy because I was a big girl, here). He looked at me for a moment and then said, "One time, when I was a little boy, Daddy gave me my bottle back and I was happy and I LOVED Daddy."
Needless to say, he got to use his beloved sippy cup that night and I took a tough blow to my parenting ego. Eventually, though, he relinquished the cup and moved on.
During these times, I found it very difficult to ask my kiddos to give up the creature comforts that they held so dear. I felt mean and selfishly, I hated the idea that they were growing up at all. In the end, though, I had to be a parent and make the decision that was in the best interest for my children. After all, you can't take your paci with you to kindergarten.
I am coming to realize that this process is one that continues throughout our entire lives. Giving up so we can grow. Surrender.....
Many of us choose to hold onto things to comfort ourselves and, in turn, remain immature. We use "pacifiers" to keep ourselves from truly feeling the pain of this life, and never really learn to rely on God for our strength and reassurance. I have them....you have them. They hold us back. They stunt our growth. We continually refuse to learn a lesson that our toddlers have mastered.
What is God asking us to give up so we can grow?
Hebrews 5:12-14 (The Message)
"By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong."
God leaves the choice up to us: Am I going to take my paci with me to kindergarten or grow up and finally surrender? If Crosbie and Dominic can do it.....then so can I.