The other evening, Elijah was struggling with decision-making. Being the perfectionist that he is, he had been practicing his violin 3 hours every day for about a week. And he was beginning to feel stressed.
I did not ask him to do this and neither did Edric. It was his personal conviction to “try his best.” However, I became concerned when it seemed like he was bordering on legalism. He had no peace. It was troubling him deeply that he couldn’t sustain the 3-hour long practices.
So I told him, “Tonight, just practice for 30 minutes. Take a break.” He wrestled with this and replied, “But, I feel like it’s not enough, that I should do it for longer.”
“Elijah, I am your mom. I am your authority. I’m asking you to practice for just 30 minutes tonight because I want you to relax. You don’t need to practice for 3 hours.”
But this didn’t alleviate his stress. And I started to feel exasperated inside when he became emotional and dramatic.
I love Elijah. He is a tender-hearted son who is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit yet he was convinced that he wouldn’t be pleasing to God if he didn’t practice hard enough. Of course, this wasn’t a biblical perspective. He didn’t have to earn God’s favor by playing his violin.
Unfortunately, at that moment, I had to get ready for a dinner so I couldn’t have a long drawn out conversation with him. Edric, on the other hand, takes 5 minutes to get ready so he had time to spare. When he saw that Elijah was anxious and confused, he called him into our room to talk. They had a private conversation about how Elijah was feeling and what was going on in his head.
When the opportunity was right, Edric inserted the principle of obeying your parents and priorities. He reminded Elijah that God has ordained us as his authority. And he can trust that God speaks through us. So if we say he doesn’t need to practice for 3 hours then he can rest assured that following what we say is what God wants him to do.
Then he talked about priorities. He explained to Elijah that it’s a good thing to do your best. However, there are other responsibilities and activities that Elijah needs to get done in a day. So if violin eats into everything else then he’s focusing too much on his violin. Edric used the example of his own life and the decisions he has to make as a man when ordering his priorities.
Elijah breathed a sigh of relief after he heard this and he said, “Thank you, Dad. I really look up to you. When I make decisions, I think about what you would do.”
Sons need heart-to-heart moments with their fathers. I couldn’t have comforted and assured Elijah in the same way that Edric did. Since their talk, he hasn’t been plagued with unnecessary guilt about his violin practices. He has been enjoying them instead.
Edric’s mentorship provides our sons with a different kind of security and confidence than my mothering does. As our sons grow into their manhood, they look to Edric more and more to teach them how to be men and navigate through life. It amazes me how responsive they are to Edric’s guidance and I am blessed that he is present and available to meet their needs. But, I’m also reminded to keep praying for him to be the kind of father they need him to be. And more importantly, I need to pray that he will be the father that God wants him to be. Mentoring three sons is a big responsibility. As sons need their fathers, fathers need their heavenly father to direct, instruct and teach them how to lead their families.
Psalm 25:4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.
I found these scrapbook pages in my old files from 4 years ago…It was something the kids and I made for Edric.