Toddlers are notorious for hearing only the last word out of your mouth. “Don’t run” is heard as encouragement to run. “Stop hitting” becomes “hitting.” We say, “no throwing toys” and the toys take flight. Positive statements of desired behavior tend to be more effective than diatribes about bad behavior.
Yet, what exasperated parent hasn’t ranted at one time or another about their child’s behavior? Why do you run? Why do you keep hitting? I’ve told you ten thousand times that cars are not airplanes! Why do you persist in driving me crazy?
And so, as if he needed to get the frustration out of his system, the prophet rails, “Why do you seek further beatings? Why do you continue to rebel?” (Isaiah 1:5a NRSV) before reminding God’s people what it is that they - that WE - must do to satisfy God.
Creator God of Love and Learning, help us to be the teachers of your love to all children. Help us assure an education that is specific to learning styles, personality, and spiritual gifts. Amen.
Rev. Tim Graves
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)