My firstborn was a very cautious baby. He took his time in everything, making sure he would be safe in whatever he attempted to do. He did not walk until he was fifteen months old and by that point, he was almost too big to carry around all the time. I was pregnant with my second so I needed him to use his own little legs to get him where he wanted to go.
When my second was born, he was very different than my oldest in more ways than one. After getting through those cranky, colicky first three months, things did settle down, but I soon learned that his head was put on a little differently than my first child. He was not cautious at all and would leap off the couch without thinking about the toys scattered across the floor below him, or lean over the edge of the bunkbed without a thought of danger or risk.
I remember one winter when he was almost three years old. A friend was staying with me after I had my third baby and I decided to get outside for some fresh air. I bundled Caleb up and took him out with me and let him play in the snow. That was the day I observed an odd behavior in my son that still has me scratching my head to this day. There was a patch of ice along the edge of the driveway which Caleb did not see the first time he crossed over it. Up his booted feet went as his legs slid out from beneath him and he landed on his back, whacking his covered head at the same time. He let out a howl and announced to the world that he did not appreciate what had just happened to him. From where I stood on the porch, I assured him he was okay and being the tough guy that he is, he was off and running soon after. Not long after, along he came again and I watched as he did the exact same thing he had done before. Up went his feet and down went the rest of him as he tried to walk across that patch of ice. The tears came again, and again I told him he was fine. Within seconds it had happened again, and then again, as I stared dumbfounded that somebody would continue doing the same exact thing over and over again, with the same results. I counted the times it took him to learn that walking across the ice patch was not going to work, and it was not until after the 8th time that he decided he would walk around it. To this day we have a saying in our house to remind my husband and I it takes more than one reminder to get through to some of the children in our home: "Eight times, dear, eight times!"
In my Bible reading this morning, it struck me that I am not the only one who has to continual remind those with thicker heads of how it should be. I was finishing up Deuteronomy, where Moses goes up into the mountain to view the promised land. He was not allowed to go inside because of his disobedience to God's orders, but God wanted him to see the land that was to become Israel's home. Earlier, because of their fear, lack of courage, and lack of faith, Israel had found themselves roaming the desert for 40 years. All the parents and leaders who had not trusted God's words died in that desert, never seeing the fullfillment of the promise. Now, only the children and their families were left, and God wanted to make sure they understood what a powerful God they served. Yet, He knew how thick-headed people on this earth can be so He began to reassure them that all was going to be okay. Over and over again, through Moses before he died, and then through Joshua, their new leader, the people were told to be strong, courageous, and not to fear because God was looking out for them and He would never leave them or forsake them. I noticed a pattern as I was reading and I began to wonder how many times God repeated those words? I looked it up and to my surprise, I found eight times! Deuteronomy 31:6,7,23; Joshua 1:6,7,9,18, and then in Joshua 10:25. God knows how thick-headed man can be, so He made sure He got through to His people that all would go as He said it would. He cannot lie. I am so glad to know my son is as normal as they come. I am so glad I have a merciful God Who is willing to love me and patiently wait even though it may take eight times (or more!) to get through my thick-headed brain. Amen!