As the school year is now fully underway, I am once again feeling sweaty palms as I anticipate the crazy days. Especially crazy sock day. Now I don’t know who came up with this tradition, but I’d like to have a little word with said person. It seems that everyone wants to get in on this silliness — everyone except me! Putting together crazy mismatched socks goes against every single fashionista bit of training I received from mother.
Maybe it is some form of passive aggressiveness in the depths of my soul, but it seems that Crazy Sock Day is always forgotten in our home until the last minute. Of course, that also means Crazy Sock Day is synonymous with chaos, which is what ensued one early morning when the girls panicked about not having mismatched socks. So as any good momma would do, I raced up the stairs to grab the one pair of crazy socks I had stuffed in the depths of my draw. They were a gift, of course. Hollering on my way back down, I hope to make the most of Crazy Sock Day,
“Girls, you can each wear one sock and find another to put on the other foot.”
Brilliant, so I thought. But of course they didn’t want to share matching mismatched socks.
That is when Crazy Sock Day turned into the Crazy Sock Throw Down in our home.
I tried to be patient as they bickered back and forth. Their huffing and pouting left me no option but to take the Crazy Sock Day privilege away. And technology. And TV. And their phones, too.
Yes, I said forever…in that crazy emotional moment.
It was irrational, I know. I had to back peddle, eventually. But see, the problem wasn’t really about Crazy Sock Day. It was a bigger issue that has been brewing in our home for a long time.
Our daughters struggle to love each other in words and actions.
And they are okay with me telling you about it.
My Jesus-loving, delightful to be with, hard working daughters have a terrible time at getting along. They are rough with their words, impatient in their responses, and all too often assume the worst of each other. Not all the time, but all too often.
The world might say, “Well, that’s sisters for you. They’ll grow out of it.” Maybe. But maybe not.
We could ignore our girl’s behavior, hoping they’ll outgrow it. But if it is true that we outgrow our habits, why are marriages still breaking up? Why are churches still dividing?
We don’t outgrow sin.
If anything, we become more entrenched in it. It is only when we confess our sin to the Lord (and to others, when appropriate) and turn from it, that we can begin to move forward by God’s grace in developing a new habit that is more consistent with God’s best for our lives.
Just because we love Jesus doesn’t guarantee we’ll love others well. It is a skill that takes accountability, practice, and self-control all motivated by a desire to fulfill God’s commandment:
John 13:34 NIV
A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
We have to practice fulfilling the God’s command to love one another. We’re not going to ignore our girl’s icky behavior, but rather pay attention to it so that we can seize each opportunity to train up their hearts with long term vision in mind. As we think about our response as parents, we’re asking questions like:
- Is this how we want them to treat their college roommate?
- What if they acted like this with their spouse?
- How would this behavior play out in their parenting?
- Are they glorifying God in the way they are acting?
And as we approach our girls (and our son, too) with a desire to teach them how to resolve their points of conflict, we’re asking questions of them like these:
- How can you say that with respect in your tone and words?
- Can you rephrase that so it sounds like you’re owning your stuff and not blaming her?
- Would you be willing to forgive, again?
- Can you see that this is a part of her personality, which is both good and bad?
- How could you be more patient with her, show compassion for her area of weakness and encourage her other strengths?
Yes, in our home, you’ll likely find us in the middle of chaos on Crazy Sock Day…and other days, too! But if you peer in closer, you’ll find we’re spending lots of time having long conversations that address the heart of the matter. Sometimes, it might mean we’re late for Crazy Sock Day — but that’s because we’ve decided it never really just about the crazy socks. It’s about the getting the crazy heart back where it ought to be.