As a parent, it is often difficult to know when to rescue your children and when to let them do their own rescuing; thus, suffering the consequences of actions in order to learn from mistakes, oversights, or simply not paying attention.
Forgetting a homework assignment at school, leaving a pair of shoes at Dad’s house, not completing daily chores before hopping on YouTube, the list is endless…
It is so easy to swoop in, be the hero, and magically make everything alright.
At times, it is easier to just simply do the job yourself as a parent. But is that really teaching our children how to maneuver the infamous real world they are sure to experience, in which Mom will not always be there to step in?
This morning one of my sons forgot his shoes at his dad’s house. He saw no reason I could not swing by to pick them up on my way to work. I did not have time to make the additional stop, so I said no, and listed several alternatives to the situation.
He ended up finding another pair of shoes, but they are his beloved basketball shoes, and he did not want to get them dirty. Valid point (and one I can appreciate!)
Should I have made myself late for work to swing by his dad’s house and pick up his daily shoes? Should I have asked someone to bring the shoes to him at school? Or should I have presented a list of alternatives to my son in efforts to allow him to figure out the situation on his own?
There are probably child psychologists that could argue any of the alternatives to this very insignificant issue. As a parent, we simply do what we can at the time.
Right or wrong, we choose a way of dealing with the situation and own it. Oftentimes, feeling a sense of guilt for hours afterward…
Parenting God’s Way
I often wonder what goes through the mind of my Heavenly Father when I make the same silly mistakes over and over. Does He swoop down and play hero and automatically rescue me from the results of my actions?
I think at the times He chooses to sit back and allow me to learn some hard lessons. Knowing that is the only way I will avoid those missteps in the future.
God is not a genie in a bottle here to magically remove all of our life’s obstacles. Absolutely, He is more than capable. But a loving parent often has to step back and allow their children to learn, even if learning comes from a bit of suffering or discomfort. Sometimes that is the only way.
If God righted every single wrong His beloved children made, we would no doubt become reliant on Him to make all of our troubles go away and thus continue to walk in the quicksand of life, rather than avoid those persistent pitfalls that often appear enticing, but rarely leave us in a better place.
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“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father, the son he delights in.”proverbs 3:11-12
The difference between God and me, as a parent (there are many differences, obviously), is that He does not lose His cool. He does not rant and rave and get overwhelmed and stressed out, not knowing how to handle various situations.
He is God….He simply knows! He remains patient and available for His child to come to Him. Whether that moment is full of pain, awkwardly begging for forgiveness, asking for wisdom in making a decision, or pleading for help in escaping a mess of our very own making.
He is there.
Hoping his child will come to Him.
And offering many alternatives to escape the muck of our consequences. Whether it be prayerful consideration, biblical application, advice from a trusted friend or family member, a professional counselor, a pastor or shepherd at our church, a mysteriously enlightening dream, a random message on the television screen, a Facebook post, or an angelic messenger.
God works in mysterious ways. His answer may at times be: ‘No’, ‘Wait’, or ‘Okay, I think you are ready…’. Despite the answer He gives, whether a resounding YES, a disappointing NO, or the sound of silence, His parenting style is perfect.
His teaching, learning, growing, giving, and loving ways are always on point. He is always there, waiting for His children to seek Him. His answers, while we may not understand them at the time, are always the perfect avenues toward our saving grace.
Please Lord, give me the parenting wisdom to know how to handle these daily situations. Help me to discipline in love, understand with grace, know when to rescue, and when to step back. Mostly, help me recognize the ways you have so lovingly parented me, so that I can learn those tough lessons and utilize each experience to teach the children you have so graciously entrusted to me in this life. Amen.