Monday, August 12, 2013

Training Our Kids to Own It

Every now and then, usually over dinner, my husband & I go through a few role play exercises with our children. The kids think of it as a game, which makes it a far less intimidating way to talk to them about tougher topics.

A couple of nights ago we went through scenarios ranging from 'stranger danger' to gun safety and good ole fashioned peer pressure. Lest you think this more complicated than it is, we simply give each child a question or two like this: 
"K, you are at a friend's house and they put in a PG-13 movie. What would you do?"
"R, your friend tells you he wants to show you his Dad's cool new gun..."
We started to notice a trend in their responses that gave me pause. R, our justice seeking rule follower, would frequently answer, "My parents don't allow me to..."

Because we were role playing and I was the temptress, I would retort with real taunts he might encounter like "well, your parents aren't here now," or "they'll never know. " Once I even mocked him with "oh, aren't you a good boy listening to your parents?"  

It occurred to me that my 9 year olds are reaching an age where it's no longer just what their parents say that should be dictating their responses. Yes, of course, we are helping him establish a concrete foundation of morality, safety and wisdom...but at some point he (and our other children) have to begin to own it themselves. I confess I especially worry about R in this regard because he is wired to be very socially motivated.

When the pressure is on, especially as R ages, I know that our beliefs won't be enough to sustain him. It will be important that his moral code is firmly rooted & established in truth. He must learn to draw upon the Lord's strength and wisdom. But there are a lot of temptations in the process. 

It is empowering to be prepared. So, for now, we've started working on other retorts.

No thanks, I'm not interested.
I don’t want that scary/yucky stuff in my brain.
I don’t think that’s wise.
I'd rather...
I’d feel more comfortable if... 

I have worked in youth ministry for two decades. I know there will be moments of temptation for which we cannot fully prepare. Our Enemy is cunning. The battle of the flesh and the spirit is old as time. People (I started to type kids and corrected it :-)) make poor choices. Yet, all of these things make me more, not less, committed to the battle.
So we are talking to our kids, praying to their Creator and buckling up for the ride. 
Why can't they stay little?
*Thanks to my father-in-law for these great vacation photos that fit the post perfectly. Well, except that I'm in a swimsuit :-)

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Although we don't see your swimsuit, I think it too is quite "fitting" for your post. You are swimming against tides of growing children. (And might I say you seem to be doing an outstanding job and staying afloat very well) Our Heavenly Father is our lifejacket and He is always there to rescue us from difficult situations if we allow Him.