The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors… Act 13:17
Kids’ cartoons are far more sophisticated now than when I was a child. My favorite new addition is the “back story.” It fills in the details leading up to that moment in the story, adds credibility, and helps us buy in more.
I’m learning that one of my biggest pitfalls in my motherhood is I’m not concerned enough with my kids’ back stories.
Last Wednesday was Jocelyn’s skip day . The rule of skip day is my kids get to decide how we spend the time together. Against my better judgement, I let Jocelyn lead us to the Mall.
It turned out to be a lot of fun. We did lots of walking, talking, and window shopping. Where she already ate lunch at school, and I didn’t have to pay for that, I told her she could spend the $12 in my pocket on anything she wanted (big spender, huh?!). After scoping out the ENTIRE mall, she chose a choker and a pair of fake glasses. She loved her new look, and couldn’t wait to show her friends.
When Mason came home that afternoon and made some comment about her glasses, Jocelyn burst into tears. Suddenly she didn’t like her choice. She wanted to return the glasses.
When I say she spent the next hour alternating between pouting and crying, I am not exaggerating. It infuriated me that despite making the day all about her, she was more unhappy than if she didn’t have a skip day at all.
So began my threats of never allowing her to buy anything on a skip day again, and possibly canceling all future skip days because of her ingratitude. Of course that made her cry and pout more, which in turn made me more upset. The two of us kept spiraling. I finally sent her to her room to get herself under control, and to give myself some space to calm down.
She came down a bit later and said she couldn’t stop crying. She said the only thing that would help her was if I sang to her, like I did when she was little. That melted my heart.
I put cooking dinner on pause, sat her on my lap, and sang “You Are My Sunshine.” As she calmed down, the back story came out…
It turns out that when the bus driver saw Jocelyn on the front lawn after school, the bus driver asked Mason if Jocelyn’s glasses were real. He said no. Jocelyn had wanted to trick everyone the next day, but now her secret was out.
Hearing the back story helped me understand where Jocelyn was coming from and give credibility to her feelings. It wasn’t that she was ungrateful for the day and the gifts, it’s that her plan for the next day, a plan she was so excited about, was ruined.
Once I could see things from her perspective, I was able to talk her through her feelings. Then, together, we came up with a new plan that made her happy. Doing so transformed her back to the happy and grateful girl that she is.
Paul, in this scripture passage, gives the congregation in Antioch the whole back story of Jesus. He goes all the way back to when God brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and hits upon the major moments in time leading up to Him. Paul knows that reviewing the people’s past will increase their buy-in, and give Jesus credibility in their eyes. Doing so will also get them to see things from his perspective, and open their hearts to Jesus.
Obviously rewinding things to hear all about the back story takes more of our time. But the reward is worth it. The back story helped Jocelyn and me redeem our day, and it helped Paul bring many people to faith in Jesus that day.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I always take the time to listen to the back story when my kids have an issue?
* In doing so, do I see things differently, and give more credibility to their feelings?