disobedience is not a hassle!

This past weekend I went to a parenting seminar by Paul Tripp.  Gosh, it was GOOD!!!  These next few posts are me digesting my notes that I wrote down.

I am God’s agent on site.  I am meant to make the invisible authority of God visible to my children.  Are they drawn to the authority of God because of the beautiful way I have represented it?

Our job as parents is to put a sense of awe for God in them.  If you’re not intent with putting God in the center of their world, guess who they will put there?  They WILL give their heart to something.  (boys, cheerleading, vanity, etc.)

Parents are masters at giving our children ways to AVOID love.  He gave an example of siblings who share a room and they constantly fight with each other.  What is our natural response?  Split them up in separate rooms (so that they don’t have to learn how to love each other.)  We need to teach them how to live in self-sacrificing love for each other.

Never say to your child, “I can’t believe you would do such a thing!”  Because you would do the same thing.  We are all broken people.  We need to show our children who our hope is when we fall.  In our brokenness, we can run to God.  No one gives grace better than someone who deeply believes they need it.  You say to your children, “I understand you did this because I am like you.  I want to rule my world too.”

Disobedience is not a hassle, but an opportunity of grace to rescue the heart of the child.  When you are going back to their bedroom for the 100th time at 10 o’clock at night to tell them to GO TO SLEEP again, remember this:  God is working on everyone in the bedroom.  He is rescuing me from MY selfish ways.  I’m not angry because they broke God’s law.  That would be righteous anger, and I would feel different.  I am angry because they broke MY law.  He will expose their needs to you and He won’t pay attention to your schedule (but I’m in the middle of my favorite TV show!).  If I discipline with the wrong heart motive, then I will turn moments of ministry into moments of anger because you will personalize what is not personal.  Their rebellion is not against you, but God.

He gave an example about a rotten apple tree.  What if he told his wife he knew how to “fix” the apple tree and he went to the store and bought beautiful apples and nail gunned them all to the branches of his rotten tree?  Did he “fix” that tree?  No, of course not.  The tree is rotten because of it’s roots.  When our children are “rotten”, we essentially do the same “nail gunning” strategy to change their behavior -threat, manipulation, and guilt them.  But we have no capacity to do what only grace can accomplish.

Our goal is heart level obedience, not simple physical obedience.  Our house rules are protective, not restorative.  House rules have no power to change behavior, only Jesus does.  Confession is owning the personal responsibility for my words and behavior without shifting the blame or excuse.  But your children can not grieve what he hasn’t seen.  (Parents are tools to spiritual sightedness.)  He can’t confess what he hasn’t grieved.  And he can’t repent what he hasn’t confessed.   How do we help them “to see”?  After the offense, ask them these 5 questions.  (An example of a 4 year old answer after each question is of a boy who just threw his truck at his brother.)  Help them “see” their sin so they will grieve.

1.  What was going on?  (Johnny has my toy!)

2.  What were you thinking and feeling while it happened?  (Mad!)

3.  What did you do in response?  (Threw my truck at him!)

4.  Why did you do it?  (I wanted my toy back!)

5.  What was the result?  (Johnny cried.)

All we have is little moments to parent these children.  We have to live with prepared spontaneity.  I must hold my schedule loosely.

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August 2011

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