For the last few weeks (months), God has been giving me a huge lesson in humility as I have been in the Summertime trenches with my children.
One of my people has received the majority of my 'coaching' attention lately and while his healthy self esteem has seemed impervious to my constructive criticism, I have started to feel like I have gotten a bit off course. This post is my public confession and some notes to myself to keep from repeating this in other seasons and with other children:
1. As I seek to train up the heart of my child I must ask God to reveal what's going on in mine as well. It's a two part reflection:
What's really going on in my child's heart that led to this behavior? AND What's going on in mine that I find it so offensive?
Am I correcting the child because it is for their benefit or am I reacting out of bruised pride or embarrassment?
Am I parenting for character or for performance?
As human beings, our motives will almost certainly not be 100%. It will likely be a mixture of both. I strive to have motives that are more pure than impure.
2. The predominant feeling my children get from me should always be unconditional love. No matter how hard the day has been, I will kiss them goodnight, pray with/for them and not go to bed angry.
"Rules without relationship lead to rebellion."-Josh McDowell
In order to effectively discipline, my children must believe that I am FOR them. I want them to know without a shadow of a doubt how much I love them. I want them to know that my heart desires the best for them and my correction comes from a heart of love. Without that foundation, I do believe my voice will be clanging cymbals (See I Corinthians 13)
and that I will be a misrepresentation of the Father's love for them.
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them
for who they are.” Donald Miller
3. Just as I seek to be an optimist in life, I want to chose to think
positively about the people I love. Rather than slipping into a tendency to see my child as project to be improved, I am recommitting myself to valuing them as human beings to be loved.
Real love/true parenting demands that I challenge them to be the best they can be. I have a responsibility to guide, direct and discipline to keep them from getting off course--but it is the course God has set for them, not one I design.
4. Every person on this planet was fearfully and wonderfully made--by a Creator who has a plan for their life. I believe real parental love means helping them unwrap the unique gifts God has given them
AND teaching them how to use them. Those strong, passionate personalities can be mighty forces for good one day...but they must learn how to use the power they came equipped with. THIS is to be the focus of our parenting--teaching them to manage what God gave them, NOT trying to force fit them into a mold that bears no resemblance to the way they are wired.
power has given us everything we need for a
godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his
own glory and goodness...
this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and
to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge,
self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to
and to godliness,
mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep
you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1: 3-8 NIV