I have just finished reading a blog by Robert Andrews, which I believe provides one of the best and most concise reasons why we must remember that our children are a gift from our Heavenly Father and that gift comes with the privilege of parenting. Andrews so beautifully describes good parenting which is sacrificial, sanctifying, and sacred honor.
Cherie ~ The Sage
Original article: Here
|Written by Robert Andrews|
|Thursday, 31 January 2013 14:47|
|We saw last week that if I am to capture my child’s heart so that his desire is to obey and follow me, that process begins with me recognizing that if he does not want to do so, that is my fault, not his! Once I have seen that fact, ceased blaming my child for resisting me and accepted full responsibility myself, the stage is set for a huge relational victory. By embracing my culpability in the matter, I, in essence, “die” or “take up my cross.” This clears the decks for the powerful new life of Christ, that only springs from “death” in me, to rush in and envelop my relationship with my child.Excuses for not bearing full responsibility–for not “dying”–are always available for me to use: “I am doing best I can;” “I didn’t understand;” “I am doing better than my parents did with me;” “My child can be absolutely impossible!” “He is certainly not without fault;” and on and on.
That any or even all of those excuses may well be true is not the point. Our Heavenly Father’s indefatigable pursuit of me in spite of my resistance and rebellion is my model for relating to my children. His kindness continually leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4). That kindness, the same kindness an effective father expresses toward his children, is expressed in two ways. What are they?
One of Ann Lander’s most famous columns (or was it her twin sister, Abby Van Buren?), one she would rerun periodically, was a letter from a young woman who grew up with few, if any, boundaries erected by her parents to control her behavior. She could do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, because her parents “trusted her.” She was on her own. This young woman looked back on her childhood and recognized the fear and insecurity of one who deep down inside didn’t believe her parents really loved her. She wrote of a longing for rules of conduct to help her know what to do. She intuitively knew she was not yet equipped to run her own life and her parent’s unwillingness to do so, to her, was a sign of their lack of love for her.
And she was right. The Bible teaches clearly that the fences we place around our children’s conduct, and then the consistent, biblical sanctions (the use of the rod) we exercise when those fences are defiantly crossed, is the proof that we indeed do love our children. A parent who thinks he loves his child is deceiving himself if he refuses to use the biblically prescribed sanction for rebellion, the rod. Furthermore, without the proper use of the rod, know for sure that it will be impossible for that parent to capture his child’s heart.
The second avenue a parent takes that opens the way into his child’s heart, along with consistently applying biblical sanctions, may surprise you. It entails constantly, at every opportunity, as much as feasibly possible, giving him everything he wants!
It is hard for me to grasp that this is actually God’s very attitude toward me, His child. However, as I have experienced His love for me through His firm discipline, and then begin to learn that I can really trust Him and what He says as my Daddy, I have found that He delights to open up His vast storehouse of blessings and shower them down upon me. He is in the process of giving me all the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4)!
Should we treat our children any differently? When the age-appropriate fences are in place for my child and the gates are securely latched (the borders are secured!), what is my #1 desire? Is it my reputation as a good Christian father? Is it the glory involved in having a well-behaved child who doesn’t embarrass me in public? Is it the pride that accrues to parents when their children are successful athletes or outstanding students? Or is it the convenience that accompanies getting to spend my time on my own interests because my child doesn’t give me any trouble?
As a young father, those selfish aspirations were all too often the case with me. However, with boundaries firmly in place, if I am to win my child’s heart, I have learned that my best chance of doing so is to do everything in my power to give him whatever he wants—as long as it lies inside the boundaries. He cannot be fooled; he will know in his heart if that is my desire of if it is not.
Some seem to be able to give selflessly, but have erected no fences, like the parents of the girl in the Ann Landers letter. Others, like me with my daughter, have the fences firmly in place without the selfless giving. I did not really ever win my daughter’s heart as a child because she knew subconsciously that what I did was not primarily for her. My concern for her was really predominantly for myself (all the examples above are from my personal experience as her father).
So, what can one do to win his child’s heart? 1. Accept full responsibility for his failure to do so, 2. Put the fences firmly in place, whatever the cost. 3. Their happiness and well-being takes precedent over one’s own. Obviously seeing this and then pulling it off are two totally different animals. Seeing one’s failure and embracing it is always the only path to genuine victory.