I think I mentioned a while back that I was reading a book called, "Give them Grace".
It's a book about how to train our kids by the gospel that God plus nothing is EVERYTHING. How to teach them that being good is beyond their control.
well anyway I read a chapter last night that was great for me as a parent (they are all good, but this one was great!)
It is titled, "God loves all His little prodigals and pharisees."
It talks about how we all have two types of kids, the ones that are rule breakers and rule keepers.
I personally was ALWAYS a rule keeper, somehow thinking that by keeping the rules I was meriting favor with my parents.
Which led me to have a self-righteous pride, this is toxic because inside it makes me feel like I have some goodness in me apart from Christ, "I'm okay after all" attitude. We always view our parents happiness and God's as the same.
Our Children need to be taught that mercy ALWAYS trumps law.
Here in the book they talk about the prodigal son, older brother and their father. If your like me you didn't want the younger brother to return, I loved that I had finally secured the "best child" role, I falsely think by doing the right thing I had secured my worthiness. While that is messy it's honesty, and no better than the rule breaker brother. I'm very thankful for our Father who lovingly welcomes both equally into his arms.
Elyse and her daughter Jessica give a scenario in the book where we have two children in the pool fighting because one is cheating and the other is upset because he isn't following the rules. The mother takes the opportunity to be open with the kids about both of their needs for grace.
The Gospel is for sinners
So, how can we teach our children to rejoice in God's generous mercy and love? We know that we need to train them in rules for obedience; that's obvious. But how can we teach them about something outside the norm, such as God's joy in being merciful to sinners?....
The Gospel is not good news to those who pride themselves in their hard work. It is infuriating news. But it is good news to younger-brother types who are tempted to turn away from the faith fairly early on because they don't think the gospel is for sinners. They think it is for good people who like being "gooder".
Consistent, transparent, and specific confession of sin will help children see how their parents struggle with sin the same way that they do. Teaching David (child that is a rule-breaker) that he and susan and mom and dad are all lost, all sick, all in need of a salvation is so very crucial, whereas saying things like, "Why can't you be more like Susan?" obliterates the gospel message. It tells David that there is something intrinsically wrong with him that isn't wrong with Susan. It destroys his hope of ever hearing God's benediction of goodness over his life. It breeds unbelief and despair. And, it is false.
(Excerpt from book, pg. 71)
being the rule breaker I personally think has it's own perks, they tend to see their need for a savior much earlier and tend to be more authentic and a HUGE tool for God because they know they have been forgiven so much.
If your a parent of multiple children I would strongly encourage you to use this as a guideline or better yet, BUY THIS BOOK! I am pushing myself to work hard at showing my two oldest boys that they both need a rescuer just like their mom. I'm going to take time to not allow pride to dwell in my heart for the child that obeys often and for me to not pour shame on the one that breaks all the rules. I want them to just be the person God created them to be, and that God takes so much joy in showering with mercy those who cannot help themselves (Which is all of us).
(This book does not condone relaxed parenting and just letting your kids get by with disobedience, I was skeptical at first too!)
There are chapters talking about the kinds of rules and discipline that are healthy for our children.
anywho sorry I posted so much from the book but I couldn't find a good place to stop:)....
We all need to have faith like the little children in Mark 10, coming to sit in his lap knowing we have nothing to offer but the simple joy of letting Him who created us hold us and love on us. I pray that you and I can take to time away from the computer, our book, or whatever kind of distraction we have and decide to make the most of very teaching moment with our kids today. They are our greatest purpose at the moment.
love you all!