"And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day..." Genesis 39:10
We are in a study in church on Sunday mornings right now on the life of Joseph. This morning's message took place when Joseph was in Egypt, living in Potiphar's household. Joseph had gained the trust of Potiphar because of his integrity. That integrity was put to the test when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph into bed with her. Genesis 39 shows us her persistence when day by day she tried to lure him into her bedroom.
Day by day she spoke to him.
This persistence reminded me of a concept I read in the book Boundaries With Kids by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. My kids test me with this type of persistence... especially my four and a half year old. Our conversations sound something like this:
"Mommy, can I stay up until nine o'clock tonight?"
"Not on a school night. You can stay up until nine o'clock on Friday night when you don't have school in the morning."
"But mommy, I want to stay up until nine o'clock!!"
"Your bedtime is eight o'clock on school nights."
"Mommy, can I say up until eight thirty?"
And on it goes. He's quite a stubborn little boy... not that he gets that from his mommy! I have not always been the greatest at holding my limits in the past but I am working on being more consistent in that area. Every time I give in, I'm teaching my kids that they don't need to respect the rules set for them. If they beg long enough, they will get their own way. I may be stopping the whining, but I am doing nothing for character building by giving in.
Kids need limits. They may not outwardly be able to express it, but kids actually want limits. Limits make them feel safe. It shows them that you are strong enough to take care of them and that you love them.
One thing that I am reminded of from the Boundaries book is that I only have to hold out one more time than the other person does. Just one more time. When you look at it that way, it seems a lot more do-able.
By setting limits with my kids, they will begin to build character like that of Joseph. And you know what? This is learning experience for me, too. Our pastor reminded us this morning that Joseph decided long before he was presented with the opportunity to sin. It's my job as a parent to train up my children to become men of great and Godly character. It's never too early or too late to start.