How are we doing parents? I think it is a question we need to ask often. I also think it is a question that needs to be addressed without us giving up. We are in a battle for our kids hearts and we are in a position to point them in a direction.
Are we pointing them in a direction or forcing them to walk that direction?
As a parent of several teens these days I find that my parenting goal has changed over time. I was positive my boys would never touch a gun. Take one 9 month old boy and leave him in a room with Barbie and he can turn any good barbie leg into a gun! Who taught him that? So instead of holding a hard line we decided to walk beside him and show him how to use a gun.
I was quite sure my girls would never wear jeans in church. Let the skirts get short enough and I was more than happy to allow jeans to be worn. Our discussions are more about what we are trying to convey with certain clothes and does that bring eyes up to ours or does it cause another to stumble?
Surely we would never have a child deal with cursing because we don't curse. Yes, I have had a few kids curse. Of course to them it isn't but to me it is. The topic is more about honoring others than learning the right and wrong words to use.
I am learning to appeal to their hearts and let God change the direction. I can point them to Him but I cannot force them to Him.
Just like a toddler has to find his footing, so our teens have to find their place, belief, and convictions. That toddler will NEVER learn to walk if I hold him with every step. So will be the same for my teen. If I make all their decisions, where do they learn to rely upon the Lord.
This is such a hard balance for parents! How do we speak into our kids lives, let go as they follow Christ, and watch as mistakes are happening?
We take one day at a time, give it to God, and remind ourselves His love was so big He died on the cross for their mistakes! I'm thinking His arms are better prepared to catch them than me. But my arms are just the right length to walk along beside them in the process.
As I read an article today about Katy Perry I am reminded that Grace Based Parenting is a great reminder of what we are to do with our children. There are some things we do that promote rebellion rather than diminish it. Take a minute to read a great blog post on A Recipe for Rebellious Children.
Yes, I even find my heart is full of rebellion too. Now, how does one sinner encourage another sinner to walk by grace? Keeping our eyes on the Lord verses one another! I hope my eyes draw my kids attention upward in the process!