I wish they would come up with another name for the clicking device you use with a computer. I REALLY DO NOT LIKE MICE.
We lived in half a farm house, and mice just weren’t a problem – at least until the family on the other side of the house got a cat. Apparently our neighbors did have a mouse problem, so in a span of two weeks, we captured twenty-two mice.
One day, I turned the electric burner on the cook stove to HIGH, ready to start supper. I saw a black mass bubble and deflate, bubble and deflate over and over. I was so terrified – I thought I had killed a mouse and the stove was cooking the dead mouse under the coils. I called my sister-in-law to get me, called my husband crying, asking him to please come home and see if it truly was a mouse. (It wasn’t – it was a spill from an apple dessert bubbling under the coils – but it certainly looked like a dead mouse to me!)
As years passed, my disdain for mice never waned – and my husband decided he needed to be the one to teach our children that those little rodents can’t hurt you.
Jamie was just four years old, the cutest freckled-faced redhead you ever did see – and she adored her daddy. We were in a different house and a different phase in our lives, but nothing changed my hatred for mice. Once again, the cold weather chased the mice into our house for refuge and once again I was frozen in my fear. Donnie strategically placed traps by the stove, by the basement door, under the sink – everywhere a mouse had been spotted. I heard the snap of a trap and screamed, “Donnie!!! Come NOWWW! A mouse!!! A mouse!!!”
He responded, “Well, empty the trap!”
He knew I’d never touch that trap no matter how dead that mouse was, but 4-year-old Jamie ran to the trap ready to help in whatever way she could.
“Can I do it Daddy?”
“NO!” I exclaimed. “Feeda!!!” (That’s what my Norwegian grandfather would say whenever something was really yucky.)
“Sure Honey,” he said. “Here, hold the trap at the corner, then lift this to release the mouse. Then take it by the tail and just throw it out in the yard.”
I cringed. Despite my protests, Donnie was determined to make his kids real men – even the girls!!
I was getting the clothes out of the drier when a short while later, I caught a glimpse of my precious little redhead running past the window carrying the dead mouse. I screamed at Donnie, “YOUR DAUGHTER IS PLAYING WITH THAT MOUSE!!!” He laughed and ran outside to catch her.
“No honey, you probably shouldn’t play with that.” He explained that it was dirty, and she should just throw it in the yard for the cats.
I finished folding the laundry and took the basket upstairs to put the clothes away.
Jamie stood in the doorway of her room. She exclaimed, “Mom, Don’t come in my room.”
“Mom, do not come in my room!”
In her most melodramatic voice she once again exclaimed, “Mommy, do not come in my room”.
After the third warning, I realized she wanted me to play along. I stepped into her room and asked, “Why don’t you want me to come in your room?”
She ran to her bed and fell on her pillow holding it tight. She looked at me, sat up and pulled out a Tupperware pie holder she had hidden under her pillow.
“What do you have in there?” I asked, fully expecting she had found some pennies to put in her piggy bank.
“It’s a mouse!” she exclaimed as she pulled off the lid. “It feels squishy! See?” she said proudly holding it out for me to touch it.
“DONNIE!!! YOUR DAUGHTER!!!!”
Donnie came to the rescue laughing. “Hey baby, should we get a real pet mouse for you?”
“No!” I exclaimed as Jamie’s eyes grew wide with excitement and nodded her head up and down.
“Let’s go!” she said.
“NO!” I exclaimed again – and throw that Tupperware container out. Throw all the pie containers out! No more pie containers! And no more Mice!!”
As we live lives within our spheres of influence, God gives us key moments, opportune times in which we impact others for the better. Jamie was learning to be fearless. I was there to guide her to be a lady – but Daddy was being the Daddy – and Daddy was enjoying guiding his little 4-year-old to rise above the status quo. Family is a beautiful thing.
God so blessed us with Family – it’s His plan. Whether you are blessed with your own family, or you enjoy your church family, you influence lives. Just as the Father is with the Son, so we are with our children. Family was God’s idea. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mirrored in family. He gave us family to understand God’s hierarchy. Jesus is the bridegroom – we are the bride. God is the Father. The Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us. We are empowered to be more than we could ever be without His love and Grace in our lives.
The Bible says Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” Only when the generations interact can this happen. When the young learn to respect the older, listen to advice, and share their youthful thoughts respectfully to the older, God can move and develop us to be jars of clay – the surpassing power belongs to God, not us. We are vessels to be used for His glory. (2 Cor 4:7-9)
In Family, teaching occurs in life – lessons taught, then retaught – easy lessons followed by deeper lessons. When she was a child, she conquered the mouse. When she became a young adult, with the help of her bow and arrow, she brought home the buck. “Precept upon precept, line upon line”, (Isaiah 28:10) learning to live fearlessly.
God’s plan is family. It’s the model He gave us for church, for understanding our position with God. Everyday events are teaching opportunities to teach our children to care, respect, obey, be kind, be thoughtful, and how to deal with emotions, how to deal with difficulties, even mice in our home. Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect. In the family we didn’t set forth a plan: TODAY WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE BRAVE. No, it happens as we set precept upon precept, repetitively demonstrating good behavior, asking for forgiveness for mistakes, and living out the character of Christ.