Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Unworthy Goal of Raising Well-Behaved Children
Yet, having well-behaved children is not a worthy goal. It is a great secondary benefit of biblical childrearing, but an unworthy goal in itself.
You cannot response to your children to please someone else. The temptations to do so are numerous. Every parent has faced the pressure to correct a son or daughter because others deemed it appropriate. Perhaps you were with a group where Junior did or said something that you understood and were comfortable with, but that was unquestionably misread by others in the room. Stabbed by their daggers of disapproval, you felt the need to correct him for the sake of others. If you acquiesce, your parenting focus becomes behavior. This obscures dealing biblically with Junior's heart. the burning issue becomes what they think rather than what God thinks. Patience, godly correction is precluded by the urgent pressure to change behavior. if your goal is well-behaved kids, you are open to hundreds of temptations to expediency.
(Taken from Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp)
When I read this I felt something pierce my heart. I knew I was guilty of this. When my children say or do something that makes me want to crawl into a hole and disappear, I immediately feel extreme pressure to correct or punish on the spot, instead of taking that child to the side and explaining why it may or may not be appropriate in a certain crowd. So many times, it is truly in innocence that they say those kinds of things. Like the time Marcus made fun of Buddha in his Tae Kwon Do class. He said, "I don't know why anyone would want to worship a fat, bald guy." He had no idea that there were three children in front of him that had been baptized in a Buddhist Temple. That day, three adults came down hard on him. His teacher, His father and me. We were too hard. He assumed everyone in the homeschool TKD class were Christians. We learned a lesson that day. But out of my own embarrassment I know I took it out of proportion.
I'm going to really try to work on this. I need to be thinking about my child's heart. Is it truly rebellion, or a lack of understanding? You know, those kinds of things.