Sunday, October 7, 2012

Your Daddy is Stupid

You never know what lies the devil has been telling your kids ... so I make it a practice to ask them. Has the devil been telling you anything recently?

Bedtime is when I'm most likely to ask, and this week it yielded from Allan: "Yes. The devil has been telling me that you're stupid."

To which I replied, "Why do you supposed the devil has been telling you that?"

He didn't know, so I explained: the devil hates you and wants to destroy you. He knows that God has given you a Daddy who is wise and wants to help you become wise. If he can get you to be wise in your own eyes, then he is making progress in his plan to hurt you. That's why it is so important for you to listen to the wisdom I am teaching you and treasure it in your heart. It will save you from many foolish mistakes as well as from much heart-break.

You may feel a bit odd affirming your wisdom and intelligence, but Proverbs teaches us to consistently affirm that the counsel we are giving our children from God's word is wise, good, life-giving, and leads to happiness.

You don't have to have a great IQ to be wise biblically. Biblical wisdom is the skill of seeing life and all its components from God's perspective and keeping the proper focus.

What lies the devil has been telling your kids?

Another Line from the Devil

Within the last several weeks, we have discovered more things the Enemy of our souls has been saying to our sons. I'll share one of them in this post.

Two weeks ago, Sunday Night, while special music was being sung, Marianne looked over to see Allan crying. The song was neither a sad nor particularly convicting song, so she leaned over to ask, "Is everything ok?"

Allan: "I don't think so."

Marianne: "What's the problem?"

Allan: "What if God doesn't exist?"

How's that for a bombshell in the middle of a service!? Our eight year old is contemplating the non-existence of God! Now, you can be sure that thought didn't come from God!

At home that evening, Marianne shared Allan's question with me, and so I addressed over our Sunday PM ritual of fried eggs and toast.

My best shot at an eight year-old level was to say, "Allan, if God didn't exist, then this world wouldn't exist. The kind of world we live in can only exist if there is a God."

I asked if he understood, and he said he didn't really. :o/ But that was all I could come up with at the time.

A couple days later, I tried again: "Allan, if you shook up your box of legos, do you think there is any chance that a perfectly put together Space Shuttle would emerge from the box after you took off the lid?"

Allan: "No, way"

Me: "Even if you shook it up a long time?"

Allan: "No chance. That could never happen."

Me: "You're right, and the kind of world we live in, where we're just the right distance from the sun, and have just the right levels of oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere, and are tilted at just the right angle for seasons, and everything is just right for human and animal life, could never have happened by chance. That would be like shaking up a box of legos and getting a Space Shuttle."

That seemed to make sense to Allan. Then, because I was curious, I asked: "Why were you crying when you were thinking what if God doesn't exist?"

Allan: "Because if God didn't exist, there wouldn't be any heaven! That would be sad!"

I suspect there are still better ways to answer this question and make it clear to an 8 year old. I welcome your suggestions.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thoughts from Proverbs 29 on Child rearing

Proverbs 29:4   A king by justice establishes a land, but a man who takes bribes tears it down.

How does this apply to fathering? A father who allows children to bargain their way out of receiving justice is overthrowing his ‘land’ or ‘house.’

In what ways do children often offer “bribes?”
  1. I’ll never do it again – repeated indefinitely. Emotional bribery
  2. Threats or assertions that the child won’t/doesn’t love the parent because of discipline. Emotional bribery: offering affirmation of love in exchange for getting its own way.
  3. Threatening or throwing tantrums. Emotional / Psychological bribery: I won’t embarrass you if you do what I want.

Proverbs 29: 15 Rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to itself / abandoned shames his mother.

The implications here are significant:
  1. Children are not good self-raisers.
  2. They are not naturally good and will not turn out fine if left to themselves.
  3. The NASB’s “a child who gets his own way” suggests parental disengagement or pacification. This relates to Prov. 29:4. Regardless of the way or reason for leaving a child unshaped by the rod and reproof, the result is parental shame.
  4. If you are not using rod and reproof on your children, you are abandoning them to your own shame. Caveat: "the rod" in the hand of a loving parent is a tool for restorative discipline; in the hand of an angry parent, it easily becomes a tool of injustice and cruelty.