By now you all pretty much know my main parenting tip:.
Think of your relationship with your children as an image of your relationship with God
So in teaching my children how to respond to me, I use my relationship with God as my example of the right response.
If I tell little Johnny to let me look at his paper, he should reply with something like, “Yes Ma’am. Here you go.” It doesn’t matter one little bit if Johnny wants me to see his paper. It doesn’t matter the teensiest if he feels invaded. I say to hand it over, he hands it over. I know things he doesn’t understand. I know what’s best for him. I am responsible to help him become a great man of God.
This is how it is with me and God….or how it should be. If He tells me to do something….anything….I should do it. No questions asked. I know I don’t always do it as well as I should, but can you imagine this scene….
God makes something clear to me. I know in my spirit that I am to follow a certain direction. Let’s, as a hypothetical, say He wants me to go live on a dirty little goat farm and have 9 kids. Crazy, right? Not my idea of a great life. So I whine and fuss and say things in my prayers like, “Why me?! I want to live in the city and have lots of money and a real swimming pool instead of an 18′ round blow-up pool from Walmart! Come on God, that’s not fair. My friends get pools. Wah wah wah!”
But believe it or not, God knows what is best for me even when I can’t see it. He gives me just what I need. Do you believe that? Then teach it to your children.
If they argue, I mean any argument AT ALL, then you are not teaching them about God’s wisdom. If they fail to obey AT ALL then they are not learning to respond to Him with reverence. If they whine ONE BIT then they may never fully know His goodness and mercy on their life.
Yes, my children have wisdom too, but allowing them to think they know better than Mom or Dad is doing them a disservice. We talk, we share ideas, we respect each other’s thoughts. I do that with God too, remember. I pray, He listens. But I never, never know better than Him. My parents taught me that, while I was a child, I was to obey them in all things. Always. I would have never dreamed of arguing with them. I grew into a wise, God fearing woman because of it.
The children will become independent of you at some point. That is the goal. When that day comes they need to know how to listen to God and follow His direction no matter where it leads. They learn this by you expecting them to follow your instructions with joy.
Next time I’ll share the flip side of this tip, “Knowing Your Children”.