that's the title of my parenting tactics today.
we're working on some pretty stubborn heart issues with our oldest, who's almost 7. so much so, that i am cherishing the summer as we spend time working through them, discussing them, and giving consequences for them so that he will turn to Jesus as his only hope to change.
sometimes i do it right and a lot of times a do it wrong. for instance, i will give a consequence to Layne for not being obedient. when i give the consequence, he usually comes up with about 3 things to say afterwards about how he didn't mean to hit his sister.
layne: i accidentally turned around and my arm spun into her.
me: well, i actually watched you intentionally hit her. on purpose after she took your lego.
layne: you never listen to me!
me: buddy, if you continue to speak to me like that, you'll have another consequence.
layne: you don't love me! i did nothing wrong!
me: that's not true. i will have to add to your punishment...and we will talk about this later when you calm down.
one consequence i use is writing verses.
so after disobeying me a couple times, i said, go write on the board 2 times:
children, obey your parents.
he wrote them, apologized and went to play legos.
i guess that actually could look effective. i got what i wanted, right? an apology and he stopped the unwanted behavior. but wait, there's more! it's shrouded in spirituality because i'm making him write bible verses.
actually, tonight as i read through my bible plan, coincidentally i read that verse in it's entirety and it smacked me in my face. coincidentally or... Godidentally? i made myself laugh just now. ignore me.
children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. IN THE LORD.
i forgot the most important part. the only way layne can truly obey me is if God helps him to do so. otherwise, he is simply modifying his behavior. this same behavior, like in my own life, will come up again and again because we are bearing the burden of change, not God.
i am layne. the only way for me to truly obey God is by asking him to change my heart and help me obey. we are no different.
but if the Gospel says He's our only hope for lasting change, then why do i preach moralism to my children which leads to death and despair? when it will not help them see the cross...that Jesus' death made the subsitition for us. not Jesus' death AND good behavior. i want layne to know the freedom that the cross brings and the death that moralism brings.
i want to say, here's a consequence for your sin so that you will turn to God.
and here's the HOPE for change!
IN THE LORD.
memorize that. put that in your heart for when you forget. because even mommies forget.
God can change your heart but you can't.
that's really good news. that's what the gospel means, right? really, freaking good news for parents and for children who try so hard to be good for goodness sake.
our kids don't need morals. they need good news.
Lord, change my parenting so that it reflects who you are, not who i am and what i want. help me to point my children to you and away from me. change their hearts and then let it reflect in their actions. and when their behavior doesn't reflect you, give me wisdom and boldness to share how you took all their bad and ugly when you died on the cross. help me to remember that too for myself...i forget so quickly.
if you would like to print that verse as a reminder, you can find it here in color.
or here in black and white.