We had finished praying and were sitting around the table.
“So can you help me understand your attitude today?” I asked one of my kids.
“What do you mean?” child responded.
“It seemed to me that I had to keep pulling you aside for the same discussion. The arguing, the disrespect with your siblings…I think you know what I’m referring to, right?” I replied.
“Um…yeah, I do. I don’t know. I am really tired, I guess, I kept doing that and I knew I was doing it…I’m sorry,” child replied.
“Okay. So how do you think your sibs felt when you treated them like that?”
“Pretty bad, I guess. Angry, maybe? Hurt? Embarrassed because I did it in front of friends?” came the reply.
“So what do you need to do?”
“And…??” I waited.
“Oh, yeah, so, tell them how I would have felt if I were them, and commit to not doing that again.”
Home run. J
“And how are you going to keep from doing it again?” I asked.
“I’ll need to pray. And try my best, but get help. Am I grounded?”
“No, but you’ll be doing their chores today. And I expect you to keep your word. Your siblings are as precious to God as you are, and need to be treated that way.”
“They don’t always treat me that way.”
“I know. And I have this same conversation with them, too. J I know I’m not perfect, either, but when we all pray and get God’s help and do our best, things just go better, don’t you think?”
The older my kids get, the more questions I ask.
When my now nearly 16 year old was 12, he and I were butting heads all the time. My husband told me I was driving him nuts one day.
“He’s making me crazy, too. Aliens have sucked his brain right out of his head and I don’t know what to do.” I replied.
The response was so simple, and profound, and changed everything.
“He’s becoming a man. You’re still treating him like he’s a child.”
So – what he needed from me was now different.
So instead of dictating, or directing, I’m a coach.
And I ask a lot of questions.
And we get along really well – even though daily life is filled with conflict, we work through things.
Something else that helps – I have discovered probably the most important thing in connecting with my kids is to apologize when I make mistakes, and “major in the majors.” I should also point out that I apologize daily. Sometimes multiple times.
Because the more I grow, the more flaws are revealed to me. My behavior might be “better” than it was 10 years ago from a “human’s viewpoint,” but the chasm that exists between me and God behaviorally (without the saving grace of Jesus Christ) is infinite. No matter how much I grow over my entire lifetime, that chasm will always be infinite.
And I’m okay with that. Because it’s not about “being perfect” or even “being good” but rather growing the way He wants us to.
Because that growth changes everything.
The more I get to know Him, the more I want what He wants: relationship.
And I’m so thankful for what I have right now with all the people I live with. J I know that could change, but for now, I’m doing my best and feeling mighty blessed.
Proverbs 22 is filled with wisdom – check verse 6 for some parental hope (note the word, “old”).
Dare you to actually click the link and ask Him to teach you this morning.
Double dog dare you to subscribe to the blog via email and join us on our journey. Triple dog dare you to get the book, The Respect Dare, if you are a wife struggling with applying this concept to your marriage, or want to deepen your relationship with God and others. The Kindle edition is super-cheap. J And for the guys? I highly recommend The Love Dare – it’s short and filled with love language-based activities. Your wife will be thrilled if you do the book, and then keep doing it over and over again.
And, like The Respect Dare, repeated small changes over time, will completely overhaul your marriage. Commit to a year of work on your part and see how different things are.
You’ll be amazed at what God will do.
And yes, ONE person can make all the difference.
Think about it – learn how to think about relationships, learn how to interact more effectively, grow in how we treat others…then help others learn how to treat us…It’s a plan we’ve seen work over and over again – and the research supports it.
One more thing…
We are having an event THIS Thursday at Horizon’s Church in Newtown, Ohio. If you are local, and wanting to know what God has to say about parenting 5th through early college-aged kiddos, and want a free lunch and free childcare, please come! Here’s the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=214615118588509 to the event. We’re so thankful for the great support the metro area pastoral community has given our ministry, and we want to make sure they have an audience for the taping event. I know how much easier it is to speak in front of live people! J So please come, and please share the event with others. RSVP if you will be able to do lunch or need childcare. J
Happy to be on the journey with you,