Do their socks matter?
Well, socks are relative… as in, yes, they matter to some relatives. One of my boys could not care less whose socks are whose, but for one of my boys, it is a major offense if someone else uses his socks. Likewise, he seems quite upset when I make a mistake about whether a sock is his or not. Why does this matter to him?
As parents, God calls us to train up our children, to love them, to provide for them, and not to provoke them to anger (Ephesians 6:4). Now, I am not suggesting that my son’s anger about his socks are my fault. However, if I refuse to delve into what is the heart of the matter, then I will be guilty of provoking him because I now know there is an issue. Again, I am not provoking him if I don’t get his socks right, but because I would have not sought to shepherd his heart. That is tough for some parents.
How do we seek to have a positive relationship, maintaining the bounds of the parent/child relationship and also understanding that our child’s thinking may be so far different from ours that we have to “think outside the box” to resolve this issue? Prayer, first and foremost. Then, listening to our kiddo without trying to make them understand our thoughts on the matter. Once we get a glimpse into our kiddo’s thought process, we can better understand whether this is a hurt-related issue, a respect issue, a need-for-affirmation issue, or one of numerous possibilities here. Or, is this a sin issue? That was my default, knee-jerk thought: “This is selfish and self-centered… just because he thinks the type of socks he has are the best. Why else would he be so rude and obnoxious to his brother or me about SOCKS?!”
However, for my son, the socks were a respect issue. He has felt disrespected by me many times through the years. He has much to learn about true, Godly respect – both the receiving and giving – but this was a real, long-standing issue that needed (and will continue to need) addressing. He has a real need to be respected, to know that his time, talents, and uniqueness are important and work to create a high level of respect within those he loves. When I have repeatedly messed up the socks (each boy has a different type of socks they like or brand they wear), he feels that I have not taken the time to understand his uniqueness and his desires. I still get the socks mixed up, but as I sort them, I pray that each person who slips on those socks will know that he is loved, respected, and listened to. (For those of you who don’t know, I live in a houseful of males!)