Why can’t Sally be more like her sister, Rebecca, who does everything she’s told without a fuss?
It says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV) So, as Christians, we know God had a purpose for giving Sally a spirited nature. That’s all well and good to say, but it’s not very comforting when she has pulled another of her stunts and you’re considering tying her to the ceiling by her toenails.
One thing I’ve found very helpful in dealing with my strong-willed child is to see her strong will as a blessing. I know it sounds crazy, but stick with me for a minute.
My daughter is never wrong. Just ask her. I’m wrong. Her father’s wrong. Her sister is really wrong. Annoying? Yes. But that child has some of the best self-esteem on the face of the planet. She writes notes on the refrigerator, “I am awesome!” She posts little sticky notes in my office, “I am cool.” Because in her mind, her opinion is always correct, she thinks she’s great. Honestly, not a bad place to be.
Speaking of opinions: Don’t try to battle with her on the existence of God. One classmate made the mistake of telling her God was dead and she was sure to set him straight. They were five at the time.
That leads me to another blessing created by her strong will–she has no fear of what others think of her. Her self-worth isn’t tied into how others view her. Peer-pressure? Most likely won’t be much of an issue. She has her own mind about things and that’s what she follows.
As a strong-willed child, my daughter is curious. She isn’t willing to accept something just because it has always been done that way, because she’s told to do it, or because that’s what is acceptable to everyone else. Now, this can be very dangerous if not shaped correctly, but think of some of the great people who were curious and determined enough not to accept things the way they were: Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Martin Luther King Jr. Developed with God’s guidance, strong-willed children can achieve amazing things.
In those darkest moments, when I am frustrated beyond all belief with my strong-willed child, I turn my eyes to God, and thank him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me. I’m still praying to figure out what God’s plan is for my daughter, but I know she is one of my many blessings–strong will and all.