Parenting is a tough game. Over the past week alone we’ve battled the parental positions of compassion vs. hard-line-for-their-own-good, we’ve tackled the topics of drugs, suicide, pornography to varying degrees with various aged little ones, we’ve worked through joyful obedience vs. begrudging submission, we’ve taught hospitality, how loud body language speaks, and how quickly idols slip their way into our lives. To name just a few. In all of these topics we have shared with our children our worldview of Christ, sin and how we can live a life that is glorifying to our great Saviour.
We’ve also tackled a few other, seemingly less complex, issues. I’ve told the kids to sit down at the table, to not tip on their chairs, to stop interrupting, to brush their teeth again cause the first time was inadequate. I’ve said no to video games because they’ve played “enough”, I’ve told them to eat a few more vegetables, to move over and share the couch with someone, to carry their clean laundry up to their bedrooms and to please take the recycling out to the bin. These are the things I see as the mundane and everyday of parenting. The things we repeat a bazillion times in our years with youngsters in the home and the things that get very little explanation besides, “because it’s rude.”
I, by example, have shown them that when there are big issues and serious discussions and topics that we bring Christ in it. But in the every. single. day. tasks there is nary a mention of Jesus. This is NOT my worldview. I believe very strongly that brushing our teeth can be just as glorifying to God as sharing and caring for others.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says very clearly, “…or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Now, call me crazy but I believe that when the bible says “all” that it means all! Which means that the things that we do time and time again without even a thought need also be glorifying. I know this in my head and I know it in my heart as I think inside my head “thank-you Jesus” probably 109 times a day. Problem is my kids aren’t inside my head. They don’t know what I’m thinking. They know what I say and they see my actions but they can’t determine the motives of my heart. They can’t possibly grasp that I want them to eat vegetables (as opposed to gummy bears which I’m not even sure can be classified as food. What are they anyways?!) because they are the foods that God has given us. They help to keep our bodies, which are a gift from God, healthy and strong and by eating them we are stewarding well what God has given to us. They don’t know that if I don’t say it!
Likewise, when they are interrupting a conversation and I tell them to stop because it is impolite and doesn’t show their manners I am teaching them that my worldview is social etiquette. What is important is that society sees you as a polite and responsible child who can aptly engage in conversation when deemed appropriate. While these are good things to want for our children they are not ultimate things. What I need my children to know is that by interrupting they are showing that they are more important than the conversation that is currently going on. That this is the sin of selfishness. The bible has very clear words on being selfless and thinking of others more highly than ourselves. By interrupting they are doing the exact opposite of what the bible teaches and how God wants us to live.
I want my children to grow up knowing that each “rule” we had in our home was not so that we can tell them what to do or impress people in our childrearing skills. I want them to know that we strive to live our lives, every second of it, to the glory of God and that is what we long for them as well.
But this takes time. Much more time, patience and energy than just saying, “stop”. I thank God that He has made me aware of this fault in my parenting and I pray that He would give me the patience and strength to implement what I now see and to forgive the times that I take the easy way out and loudly proclaim, “because I said so!”