{Parenting} Tough Love: The hard reality between teaching them good and assuming they are.

By: Mandy Hill

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Recently our daughter damaged something that was not hers (or ours for that matter). Playing outside with her brother recently, in essence she was obeying the boundaries that we had given her:

1) Stay on the black (the pavement portion of our driveway) only.
2) Do not throw anything, unless playing ball with your brother.
3) Stay away from our car.

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What happened, however, was she found a piece of glass (?!) or rock-like-object, pulled her Daddy’s step ladder over to a borrowed vehicle, and so began to “sketch” her name into the drivers side window.

My husband and I had allowed the children to play outside a mere 30 mins or so before our planned departure into the city for the anticipated arrival and pick up of their grandparents and uncle. I was sitting in our entryway, struggling with our two year olds shrinking shoes as my husband whipped the door open and called out a bellowing “SOPHIA ISABELLA-DIANE!”

Oh-oh.

An uncommon outburst from my hubby indicated the news I was about to swallow was not going to be good; or comforting. He explained to me what our little girl had done and we began to brainstorm how to “fix it!”

The Lord really spoke to my heart over the few days that followed. It became much more a matter of responsibility and learning than a matter of ‘making it better’. My flesh was completely torn, I soooo want my kids to be good. While it would have been so much easier to simply replace the window, I knew in my heart my daughter would have learned nothing from this approach.

I began to really seek The Lord on this….my husband and I both agreed that while yes, we would indeed replace the window, our daughter would need to face consequences for her actions; but further, we decided she would need to take responsibility and seek forgiveness from the owners of the vehicle; herself.

The day we returned the vehicle, we led our daughter into our friends home and asked her to share what she had done. I believe it was in the moments we stood waiting for her to confess to our friends that I learned the most. I realized in those awkward moments of waiting, that my daughter- as adorable, precious and loveable as she is– is not exempt from the pull to sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned— (Romans 5:12)

I realized in those moments that while every fibre of my being actually aches for her and her brothers to succeed and be “good”, the reality is that she (and they) are naturally being pulled in the ways of the flesh. It speaks clearly in the word of God, however, that our job as Sophia’s Mommy and Daddy is to “direct her onto the right path…” To not bury our heads in the desire for her to be good as much as facing head-on the reality that she desperately needs to be directed now, in these very impressionable moments of, her growing-up years.

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Our friend graciously pulled our daughter into a hug and said with much mercy “I forgive you”, which brought tears to the rims of my eyes. What she would have missed if we had just “fixed” that window.

Thank you, Jesus for Your tangible grace even during lessons of tough love!

Heavenly Father, Thank You SO much for the grace that so wonderfully flows because of the sacrifice of Your son, Jesus. Thank you for Your wisdom and nudging as we endeavour to raise ambassadors for You. Thank You, Jesus for Godly friends who extend grace and mercy as a crucial part of the lesson. And thank You for Your undeniable presence that comforts us through those moments of tough love. I pray for my sisters who are longing for a ray of hope in a situation that is less than desirable; please offer them peace. I pray all these things in Your precious and holy name; Amen.

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