By Xiaohui, Italy
The little boy said to me, “Auntie, you look so angry. Isn’t your head feeling as if it’s ready to burst? Haha!” This was one of the awkward situations that I encountered when I had just started work as a babysitter.
The little girl called me, saying: “Auntie…. My elder brother and I both miss you. When will you come here? We’ll be good kids, so would you come as soon as you can?” This was what things were like after I acted according to God’s words.
I am a babysitter. One year ago, I went to a businessman’s house to apply for a job as a babysitter. The businessman told me that he had an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, that my job was to do household chores and prepare supper for the children, and that I would have to work 5.5 hours a day. I thought the hours of work required and the pay offered were reasonable. So, I said to him, “I would like to go. But I’m a Christian, so on Sundays, I need to have leave of absence to go to worship in the church.” Unexpectedly, he readily consented, saying, “Christians are pretty good, very loving and patient. My two kids are quite naughty, and a patient person is just the one we need to help take care of them. You can have Sundays off, with full pay.” Hearing his words, I was very glad and said to him, “You can trust me to take good care of your children.” I thought to myself, “Cooking is a snap for me. Cooking for kids is even simpler, and it won’t take me too long to prepare a meal for them. As for the two kids’ naughtiness, it’s no great problem, for children always like mischief. As long as I coax them, they will be obedient.”
However, when I started to work, I found it was not so easy as I imagined. It was really an effort to make the two kids have their dinner. They would sing or dance as they ate, and sometimes they would draw or play with toys. The boy needed to be coaxed into eating; the girl needed to be fed, otherwise she would not eat. When the dinner got cold, I had to warm it up. After they finished their dinner, there was rice all over the dining table and the ground. And it would take around an hour and a half for them to finish a meal. For these reasons, I had to work late. I could barely bear their naughtiness in the first few days. But as time went on, I felt very agitated and exhausted.
One time, my patience finally snapped. So I said to them solemnly, “Take your seats! Don’t play or talk during meals, or else I will lock you in the house and leave, and I won’t come here tomorrow.” Unexpectedly, the boy said to me, “Auntie, you look so angry. Isn’t your head feeling as if it’s ready to burst? Haha!” Seeing me angry, not only did he not become afraid, but he actually made fun of me. Besides, what he said was exactly what I was thinking then. Facing this awkward situation, I really did not know whether to laugh or cry. Oh, my goodness! What should I do?
Another time, I called the children to dinner in the kitchen after having it ready. But quite a while later, they were still playing in the room. So I went there to call them. At the sight of my entering into the room, they dived under the bed and crept into the corner, and said, “Auntie, why don’t you come and catch us? If you can get us, we’ll eat, or else we won’t. Haha!” With that, they made the crying sound of cats. Having no way to catch them, I was very angry. At that time, I could not bear the sight of them and felt it was really an effort to communicate with them. I was so exhausted that I was unable to eat. When it was about time for me to leave off work, they still had not eaten. So, I called their mother and complained to her about their naughtiness. Then she said to them over the telephone, “When I’m out, you are looked after by the auntie, so you have to listen to her. After she cooks dinner for you, you ought to eat it like good kids. …” Having been taught a lesson by their mother, the two children seemed a little more obedient. But only several minutes later, they relapsed into their old ways. Furthermore, since I called their mother and caused them to be scolded, when I once again called them to dinner, they rolled their eyes upward at me and became more disobedient toward me.
I had used all available methods to get them under control, but all in vain. I really could think of no way of dealing with them.
After returning home, I knelt on the ground and prayed to God, “Oh God! This work really troubles me. I can do nothing with the two children and have no idea what to do. May You enlighten and guide me, so I can understand Your intentions and have a way to practice.”
After my prayer, I opened up the book of, and saw the following words of God, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. … Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. … If you are incapable of this, then you do not bear testimony among your family members, among your brothers and sisters, or before the people of the world. If you can’t bear testimony before Satan, Satan will laugh at you, it will treat you as a joke, as a plaything, it will often make a fool of you, and drive you insane.”
I was grateful for God’s enlightenment. These words of God made me see that behind everything that happens is a battle between God and Satan, and we are required to stand witness for God. But because I was numb in spirit, I merely considered babysitting as a very simple matter as opposed to an opportunity to gain the truth. So, when the two children played up and disobeyed me, I grew annoyed, unaware that this was Satan’s scheme and it was tempting me to lose my temper. I did not treat the children with true love and patience but just got angry instead and let Satan’s arrogant disposition of “putting oneself above all else” make me ask them to obey everything I said. As a result, my relationship with them became strained: They went against me on purpose to annoy me, and in response I complained to their mother about their naughtiness for the purpose of having them taught a lesson. After knowing these things, I made up my mind: I will no longer rely on Satan’s arrogant disposition in my actions; instead, I will be a person who is amiable and loving, has patience and tolerance for the children, and can get along well with them so that I will not be laughed at or fooled by Satan anymore.
One evening, I set the food on the table and told the children to dig in. After glancing at the dishes, the boy frowned. I could see that he disliked them, but I thought: You are always being particular about food. This time, I must make you eat these dishes somehow. So, I said sternly, “Don’t be picky. Your mommy and daddy have said that there is nourishment in every dish and the children who are fussy with their food will suffer from malnutrition and their physical growth will be affected. So, you must eat them. Otherwise, I’ll call your mother.” The boy pleaded, “Auntie, I have a slight headache. Can I eat less?” “No, you must eat up the food I have served to you. I know you like playing petty tricks. If there are dishes you dislike, you will refuse to eat them on the pretext that you have a headache. Don’t try to trick me.” I said. Although reluctant to eat, he still finished the food. Seeing this, I was secretly happy, thinking that he was now a little more obedient than before. However, not long after the dinner, he vomited in the bathroom. Only then did I realize that he was really ill and that I was wrong. So, I hastened to apologize to him, “I’m really sorry. I was wrong about you. I shouldn’t have forced you to eat.” He said, “Auntie, I feel better after vomiting. I’m all right now. Not to worry.” His not complaining to me made me feel more reproached: I’m always revealing Satan’s disposition of arrogance and self-righteousness, and it now has brought harm to the boy. How can my disposition change so that I can get along with them?
After going back home, I opened up the words of God, and read what God said, “So, what is ‘letting go’? What principle do you apply in doing things that is ‘letting go’? What point of view, what attitude do you apply that is really ‘letting go’? … That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right?”
Reflecting on these God’s words, I discovered the source of my own problem. I understood the reason why it was so hard for me to get along well with the two children was that I always interacted with them from a position higher than them. Because their mother left them in my charge, plus I was dominated by my arrogant disposition, I considered that the two children should obey me and do what I said. I always tried to control and restrain them according to my own thoughts, yet had never opened my heart to them or taken into consideration their feelings. Consequently, they kept their distance from me, got sick of me, and even acted against me. Nevertheless, I had never looked for the reason within myself but always thought the children were too naughty and did not understand things.
Thanks to God’s enlightenment and illumination, I also found the way to get on with the two children: I should not see myself as their elder to control them, but instead should let go of the position of their elder, stand on an equal footing with them, treat them as my friends, and open my heart and talk from the heart with them. They are just kids, it is normal for them to not understand things, to be willful and naughty, and to make mistakes. When they make mistakes, what I should do is to communicate with them calmly and help them with love, so that they can feel that I am considerate toward them and that I am doing so for their own good. Only this way will our relationship be harmonious.
Afterward, I began to try to talk from the heart with them. I would show my concern for them and ask whether they were bullied by their classmates in their school, whether they needed me to assist them with their homework. I would also ask what they liked to eat and what they liked to play. After I knew something of their likes, I began to cook the food they liked. Sometimes, I would play hide and seek with them as I did the housework. They had great fun and I was also very happy. Besides, during dinner, I would talk with them and listen to their opinions about the dishes and would not compel them to eat the food they disliked.
Growing children need to have a balanced diet. However, the little girl disliked meat and only ate vegetables. She said, “Eating meat will easily make me put on weight. If my figure becomes bad, I won’t be beautiful.” I said to her with patience, “You are still a child. You need to have a balanced diet and then you’ll grow taller. If you are short after you grow up, you won’t be beautiful, right? Believe me, as long as you eat a balanced diet, you won’t get fat.” Like this, I was coaxing and reasoning with her, and she was finally willing to eat meat. The little boy was the opposite of his sister; he did not like eating vegetables and only ate meat. Then I said to him, “In fact, vegetables are rich in vitamins. If one’s body is low in these vitamins, he will be malnourished and thus will not grow up big and strong. So, it’s not good to merely eat meat.” After understanding this general knowledge of life, he was willing to eat vegetables. In addition, when they said that they were really full, I would no longer force them to eat more. During dinner, I also made them have a contest to see who was the first to finish his or her meal, and the winner would be given a little award. In this way, they gradually get rid of the bad habit of behaving badly at table. Previously, it would take an hour and a half for them to finish their dinner, but now it only took half an hour.
What delighted me more was that they were much more sensible than they used to be. When I made dumplings, they would stand at my side watching and learning, and they soon learnt how to knead and roll out the dough. After that, each time I made dumplings, they would give me a hand voluntarily. And the boy would even pour a drink for me and ask me with concern, “Auntie, would you prefer cold or warm water?” In addition, the two kids would actively help me wash the dishes, sweep the floor, wipe the table, and pick up their toys, so I could leave off work on time. Later on, when seeing that the two kids were no longer naughty or picky about food, and that there were some changes in their living habits, their parents were very glad and increased my pay.
Once, I took two days off because I got a cold and was coughing. The girl asked her mother to call my telephone, and she said to me, “Auntie, is your cold getting any better? My mom says it’s because we are too naughty that you don’t come to cook for us. You will come, right? My elder brother and I both miss you. When will you come here? We’ll be good kids, so would you come as soon as you can?” These words moved me very much. I felt the two children were actually very naive and simple, and that later I should take better care of them and be more considerate toward them.
From then on, the two children no longer kept their distance from me, no longer laughed at me, nor would they roll their eyes upward at me. Now, every time when they return home from school, they will give me a cuddle after putting down their schoolbags, saying, “Auntie, we missed you.” When it’s time for me to get off work, they will see me to the door and say goodbye to me. And several times, they were unwilling to let me leave and pestered me to take them to my place. Their mother said to me, “My children have a deep affection for you. And they have really changed a lot.” I know that it was not I who changed them. It was the guidance of God’s words that enabled me to let go of my wrong views. When I treated them according to God’s requirements rather than based on my corrupt disposition, the children changed. All of this was done by God. All the glory be to God!