Sunday, July 5, 2009

follow-up

Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice on Thursday's post. (and for the compliments on the shots of my sweet Savannah. I'm a little biased, but I definitely think those are some pretty pictures to look at!)

I did pray with her about it all as part of that last little "talk". When we have a stop-what-we're-doing-and-spell-out-the-problems-behind-the-problem discussion, I try to always reinforce the fact that it isn't simply about "behaving well", but about being Christlike and loving others the way our Father intended. And that often we need help and reminders to do that and stopping to pray about it always helps.

Sometimes speaking of issues like this in a spiritual light is walking a strange line for me because I don't like playing the "you're sinning against God" card; I don't want to be scaring her, shaming her or guilting her into correct behavior. I don't want her to be "threatened" or fearing God in the sense that I shouldn't do these things just because it's sin. I don't believe in those black and whites for young children.
Yes, I most definitely want her to understand that we're striving to be like Christ, that we're commanded to and against certain behaviors, and that these are the things that disappoint God/these are things that make Him smile. But I'm uncomfortable with the frame of mind being straight out judgment or conviction at this point. I'm feeling like I want to be more focused on character and the heart and to understand not only, for instance, that the Lord simply tells us to obey our parents, but to understand more of the why... who we appear to be in the behavior and attitudes we display. Almost more in a learn how to be a good person way rather than you're sinning and you need to shape up or else. Even though trying to explain that kind of sounds like I'm trying to leave the God stuff out of it.
I just don't know how the mind of a six-year-old (or three-year-old- we've had a lot of questions and discussion on this lately from him) takes that in; I don't want it to be a list of good and bad behaviors... a do this and don't do this because that's what Jesus told us to do. I want her to understand the heart behind it and I think sometimes you have to look at it in a humanly way -the whole do unto others thing- to really get it. To try and see the effects her words and actions have on others, and the why of what it is that makes Jesus proud of her. That by treating others with love, she is in fact loving her Heavenly Father.
Sure, we have sin in our lives, and I want them to recognize that... I just don't want my kids to grow up looking at God as ready to pound that gavel. I want them to see Him as a loving Father who has a full heart for them and wants them to be the best they can be... and that that brings glory to Him. I want them to want to obey His word because they truly want to glorify and honor Him, not just because he may punish them for sinning.

I don't know if I'm making any sense. Like I said, the lines around this are murky to me, so I don't know how to explain it. I guess it's more the Early Childhood Education and the positive parenting in me... positive reinforcement rather than dwelling on the negatives. Labeling behaviors and attitudes as SIN seems so negative to me. Which, yes, at times is definitely called for. But in my mind, there is plenty of time for them to figure out how sinful our nature is on their own throughout the years without me labeling their young childhood actions as such.

Anyway, I'm relieved to report (and knocking on wood) that we have had no more of that attitude at all since that last talk... which was Wednesday I think. Either we had a really good fluke of a weekend, or she's gotten over that stinky attitude. Thank God!

2 comments:

Kari said...

Just wanted to leave you a bit of encouragment! Im usually just a lurker ;-) However, we have a 12 yr old who also has gone through phases like what you mentioned in the post about Savannah... I admire the way you talked with her and that you value what you are helping her shape into her character. From what you shared you did a beautiful job and just wanted to remind you of that. I think they need to test us periodically to see what they can "get away with"... it really does show you just how smart she is thought that she could work her mind around almost how to make it not "bother her"... now we just need to keep channeling that brightness in a much more productive and kind direction. You are not alone, but pat yourself on the back... i know a lot of parents don't even work so hard to make sure their children understand what situtions like that can do/mean.

ALISON said...

yeah honey you just have a clever one there, you know it's her job to watch you every second of her life and learn how to push your buttons right? And man did she figure out a good one ! :)
the sin stuff is scary to me and I'm an adult. You're right about not putting that trip on her
xoxo
alison

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