Encouragement for Today
“Who’s The Pilot?”
Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Proverbs 19:18, “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (NIV)
I recently flew to
Suddenly, out of nowhere a loud and piercing scream broke my train of thought.
Trying not to react, I continued working. In a few minutes the screaming settled into crying and whining. I felt for the suffering child, wondering if he were tired from hours of traveling, if he had been separated from a parent for a custody visit, or if he were sick. But, no. As he came into view and I heard his demands I realized he was screaming for control. Three times within five minutes I watched his weary mother offer to soothe him. He blatantly refused a teddy bear, a juice box, and an apple. “No!” he yelled. “Coooooooo ---- kieeeeees.” He belted this out as his body contorted and his little arms reached in the direction of the airport’s news stand and snack center. His mother stuffed the teddy bear into her bag. She picked up the spilled juice box and finished it off herself. Taking a bite of the apple, she tossed it into the trash bin. Resigned, she strolled him toward the cookies.
In a minute she was back with her happy child. Unfortunately in another minute he was back to his manipulative ways. When he tired of the cookies, the opened bag spilled its contents onto the carpet, and his whining began anew. It wasn’t long before his little body twisted toward the newsstand again, making it known that he was going to do whatever possible to head back to the attractive snack center. His mother reasoned with him. She threatened him. She denied him several times. He did not relent. From my vantage point and, if you were to ask me, he was in control of the situation. He was the driving force. His mother had abdicated her position as authority. When he finally broke free from his mother, he didn’t travel in the stroller, he flew!
I felt strange. A bit of fear crept over me as I considered what the future might look like for this young mother and her determined-to-take-control child.
About the same time they strolled out of site, an announcement came over the loud speaker. My departure time was delayed due to the lack of a pilot. It seems his flight into Dulles had been interrupted by weather. As soon as a pilot could be located my flight would depart.
Suddenly the area where earlier I had quietly read, erupted with screaming, whining, crying, and harsh demands. Cell phones worked overtime as they became the recipients of contorted faces spewing information at their mouthpieces. Brief cases hit the ground, some spilling their contents. Water bottles were thrust into the trash bin, followed by expletives I cannot repeat. Grown men marched toward airline attendants and banged their fists on counter tops. Everywhere, I heard adults throwing their versions of temper tantrums. Each had a certain destination in mind. Few were willing to relent.
I know that no one else found any humor in the two episodes I had so recently experienced. I not only found humor, but I saw a correlation.
It did not matter how many fits were thrown, the plane was not going to go anywhere without a pilot. You know what? I felt secure that no rules were going to be broken. I took comfort that my trip would be a safe one. A licensed pilot would take hold of the controls and maneuver that huge machine into the air. No one else was qualified. I knew I could depend upon the airlines to keep their commitment to my safety. Sure I wanted to go home, but I also wanted to live.
How do you think a little child feels when he is allowed to take the controls of his life and the lives of the adults who are supposed to be his caretakers? Does he have the experience to make strategic decisions? Is he qualified to handle every day situations and maneuver through circumstances that are not designed for him to handle?
I don’t want anyone but a qualified pilot flying my plane. I would be willing to bet that most children are asking, “Who is the pilot in my life’s journey?” No child wants to take the controls, really. When they make demands, they are simply asking the rule makers and policy writers, “Can I trust you to keep me safe. Will you break the rules that make me feel secure?” He is thinking to himself, “Can I always rest and be comfortable with the fact that decisions and choices are made with my best interest in hand?”
Next time your child wants his way, remember to take control. Make sure your child grows up feeling secure. He will develop a strong feeling of self confidence as a result.
And never pass the controls to the unqualified. Be sure to constantly check, “Who’s the pilot in this house?”
My Prayer for Today: Dear Father, I am thankful rules have been made that are in my best interest. They keep me safe and secure. Thank you for leaders and people in authority who have the wisdom and knowledge to take control. Help me to submit. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Application Steps: Evaluate the standard for discipline in your home. God gives parents the responsibility to care for, discipline, teach, and nurture their children. Find ways you can gently, but firmly and consistently, take control of your children’s behavior. Remember, you do so in order to provide security and comfort which develop confidence in young children.
Reflection Points: Do I have regular expectations for my children’s behavior and do I follow through with consequences?
Do my children understand the expectations imposed on them?
Why do I let my children manipulate me?
Is life more apt to come to a crashing disaster when I am the “pilot” or when junior is navigating?
Power Verses: Proverbs 29:17, “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31:28 a, “Her children rise up and bless her…” (NAS)
Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not be too hard on your children so they will become angry. Teach them in their growing years with Christian teaching.” (NLV)
Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (NIV)
Out of the Mouths of Babes, by Wendy Pope
Don’t Make Me Count to Three, by Ginger Plowman