Right is Right
Wrong is Wrong
Joey and Carla Link
No parent wants to believe they have a rebellious child. We may say our friends and neighbors have a rebellious child but rarely do I speak to a parent who says “I have a rebellious child!” Actually, few people today use the word “rebellious”. It is more common to say “Their kids are out of control!”
We have a tendency to see the best in our kids therefore it’s difficult to see the worst. What parent doesn’t celebrate when their child on the soccer field kicks the ball to shoot the winning goal and forgets the same child couldn’t remember to get his soccer shoes packed for the game even after you reminded him 4 times, so you had to go home and get them!
Or for some strange reason, this same child that can have so much endurance on the soccer field can’t seem to push through and get his homework done on time without your constant reminders, or get his bed made or take his laundry to his room and put it away. But they sure can remember when it’s time for soccer practice.
Parents think, “Surely it can’t be rebellion if my child simply forgot to get his shoes packed in his bag.” I think parents fall into this trap because we don’t have a good definition of what rebellion is and ultimately it allows kids to rewrite their parents’ code of what is right and wrong. So, what is rebellion?
“Rebellion” is “knowing and believing what is right and what is wrong and still choosing the wrong.” Many times it comes out in “I forgot” or “I didn’t have time” but what did he spend his time doing instead of getting his responsibilities done? Watching television, playing on the computer or on his phone?
The rich young ruler in Luke 18 very self-righteously asked Jesus what he had to do to go to heaven and Jesus said “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This young man knew that he should do this and he chose not to do it. He would never think he was rebellious. Was he? Yes!
Just as Jesus was disappointed when this rich young ruler was unwilling to make the right choice, we as parents need to not only be disappointed, but take action every time our kids choose to be rebellious by choosing to do what they know is wrong.
Taking action has 3 sides.
- Teach them how to do the right thing even when they don’t want to
- Be willing to correct them when they choose not to
- Be sure to praise them when they do
Remember: Right is right no matter if no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong no matter if everyone is doing it.
Three things that can help you teach your child how to choose right over wrong are:
1. For kids 4 yrs. and under: After giving them an instruction, ask them what they are to do when Mommy/Daddy tells them to do something. Ask them what they need to do to obey. For older kids: Ask them what the right thing to do would be and what would be the wrong thing to do, then ask them if they are ready to do the right thing.
2. Have a family time where each child (age-appropriate) makes a sign describing “Right is right no matter if no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong no matter if everyone is doing it.”
For younger kids, have pictures cut out showing right things to do and have them glue them to a paper.
3. Read the story of Saul and the rebellious ways he chose. Ask your kids what they would have done if they were in Saul’s shoes. If they come up with good answers, ask them why you can’t count on them to get their chores done and so forth. Point out the consequences he experienced in I Samuel 13-15.
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”
I Samuel 15:22-23