By Joey and Carla Link
January 6, 2021
Recently a dad shared with us this story about his young son. Dad gave his son a cup full of juice (no lid) and the child begged him to let him carry it to the table himself. I can hear the groans from every mom reading this! In the child’s excitement, he didn’t see the family’s dog walking in front of him, as he was focused on the glass of red juice. Just before he reached the table, he stepped on the dog and spilled the juice all over the floor and onto the white kitchen wall. The boy was inconsolable over the spill but also over the punishment he was sure would be coming his way. Dad surprised his son by helping him clean up the mess with a smile on his face. He had watched the entire thing and realized his son didn’t see the dog move in front of him when he was so diligently focused on not spilling the cup of juice. What Dad didn’t do, was wipe all the drops of the red juice off the white wall. He told us that by leaving the stains there they were a reminder of the accident. Dad realized with his older children he had yelled at them for their irresponsibility when accidents happened, even when that was what they were, just accidents. There was no malicious intent on the part of his kids nor were they careless. An accident is when something unexpectedly happens and no one sees it coming. Thankfully, this Dad had matured over the years and realized his kids didn’t need his anger and frustration when something unexpectedly goes wrong. They needed his support and encouragement so they wouldn’t be afraid to try again. His youngest child benefitted from this when he accidentally spilled his juice. That his impulsive son stayed so totally focused on not spilling his juice was a huge victory for this child, and Dad wisely encouraged and praised him for it. Hopefully you learn to be a better parent with each child God gives you. In this case, we are glad that this dad realized his need to apologize to his older children for his anger towards them when they were younger when they made similar mistakes. This kind of apology will go a long, long way in the heart and mind of your kids.
- Do you have a child that you have offended in training, either with your anger or high expectations?
- Do you have a child that at times seems standoffish to you because of how you might have offended them, by pushing them too hard or being overbearing with them?
Our kids can get offended with us over persistent unacceptable behavior on our parts over the long term and we don’t realize it. While the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) was so concerned for and focused on his wayward son, he missed seeing the offense he caused to his older son who had faithfully served him and who was always obedient and reliable. Your openly “rebellious to authority” kids (especially those with the Choleric temperament) will take up more of your parenting time, effort and training. We want to encourage you to praise the ones that do what you ask and are a joy to you and to find ways to encourage them as you continue to teach and train them as well. Positive encouragement for some kids can do as much as correction will do for another child. Be a growing parent! Surround yourself with resources and mentors/coaches who can and will give you fresh insights into parenting all your kids.
“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and theydo not mature. But the seed that falls on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”Luke 8:14-15