It’s no longer easy clothes shopping with Anna Takle. Not that it ever has been. But, friends, it’s harder. Much, much harder. I had to try to resuscitate Kris after Anna asked for a bra. In every store, little bras hung, and Anna clung to them like that little undergarment would make her world complete.
Then, she insisted on trying on a pair of shorts her father and I were not going to pay for. They were just too short for our taste. We let her try them on. And, subsequently, we still told her no. The bewildered look on her face to our opposition to the shorts let us know she thought we were being a little over the top. She looked at me and said, “You just don’t get my style.”
I realize her intent with the short shorts is probably not to be a sexy little seven-year old. So, what’s the big deal? It’s probably not. Not today. But, it will be one day when her young innocence becomes a little more infiltrated with what society deems as beautiful for girls. And, I’d just rather loosen the reigns later than have to tighten them. So, I remain a stick in the mud kind of mom, I suppose. Who doesn’t get her style.
I didn’t go into the conversation of “Anna, you are not the sum of your parts,” speech. I just didn’t think it timely for her age. But, I also didn’t tell her “Those shorts aren’t Godly.” Because, that would’ve been a legalistic explanation, I’m sure. I just told her that we didn’t think those shorts were the right choice for her today.
I think too often we play the “God card” with our kids. It’s something I have recognized in my own parenting.
“How do you think it makes God feel when you are being ugly to your sister?”
“How would Jesus had handled this situation?”
“Do you think it makes God happy when you deceive us?”
The list could go on.
I serve a God who loves me no matter what. Whose blood covers a multitude of my stupid mess-ups. Who has an endless supply of grace that He lavishes on me. So, who was this God I was teaching? Not the One I cry out to. Not the One who shows grace to me when I screw up as a parent.
I haven’t played the God card in every parenting situation. There have been plenty of moments where pure discipleship abounded. But, those times I’ve played the God card didn’t even rest well in my own spirit. It just seemed convenient. And, a quick fix.
So, instead of asking “How would Jesus had handled this situation?” I might ask, “Why do YOU think it’s better to forgive?” “How does it make YOU feel when you forgive?”
Teaching our children to do right for the sake of doing right isn’t going to cut it by itself. Through every life lesson, we need to do our best to tell them WHY His way is better. WHY forgiveness is just as much for us as it is for the one who hurt us.
And, I have a life full of examples of why choosing to do things God’s way has made all of the difference in my own life.
So, share your own life examples with your children. Tell them why it has worked for you. Don’t make your children live in fear of not only disappointing you, but disappointing their Creator. Instead, portray their King in such a way….live for Him in such a way….that they will TRUST that His ways really are better.
And, when they mess up, show them the same grace He shows you. Discipline when needed. But, let grace be the covering of it all.