My son is in the middle of potty training.

He is getting pretty close to achieving “fully trained” status, but not quite at 100%.

We started with the discussion about becoming a “big boy,” put away the diapers, replaced them with cool superhero and dinosaur underwear, and even made a sticker chart.

Grasping the basics of the potty was surprisingly easy. I was bracing for blank stares, confusion as to what it felt like to have to go – but he caught on pretty quick.

The painful part has been his frustration with himself.

I’m not going to hide, there have been mistakes, and some big, stinky ones at that.

There was little scolding, but lots of tears. He was terribly upset that he was making mistakes that a big boy shouldn’t.

At first, my initial instinct was to comfort him, tell him it was okay, that mistakes are a part of life, and we don’t get it perfect, ever. Or even worse, give him an out to feel better, should I give him half a sticker, or a penciled in a circle to acknowledge his efforts?

But, as I stood there, watching him grapple with the desire to become a “big boy” and the tears that came from the fact that he wasn’t there yet, I was moved by his determination to reach the next stage of growth.

And I saw that maybe I shouldn’t just dwell too long on coaching him through the imperfections and mistakes, but applaud and support him as he pushes himself to reach greater and higher peaks. Today it is to become a “big boy” who can go potty by himself, tomorrow it will be to be a man who deeply loves God, contributes to his society and nation, supports and raises his family.

It was an eye-opening moment, standing there in the bathroom with my little boy and his soiled pants, I felt the love of God. Our Creator sees us – past our shortcomings, with resolute faith in our best form. His Grace comforts us, forgives us, but doesn’t dwell on the mistakes. His Grace helps us let go of our shortcomings so they don’t define us and tie us down so that we can look up to focus on what we are meant to be, become who we really are. He sees the best in us and never lets us forget or give up trying to be our best.

I knelt down and smiled at my son. “It is awesome you want to be a big boy! I know you can! Mommy will help you. Let’s clean this up and try again.”

 

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