Tales from the Trip: “Oh, I don’t allow that.”
Once, when our kids were 2, 6, & 8, Amy was at a homeschool co-op meeting. She asked a mother of three teenage girls how she dealt with bickering and fighting. The lady said, “Oh I don’t allow that.” Amy laughed at this obvious joke. Except she wasn’t joking.
Being relatively new to this, it gave us pause. We wondered how she, the mother of teenaged daughters, was able to manage this feat of behavior transformation. Seeds of doubt were sown. Maybe we just weren’t demanding enough?
Making a monster of yourself.
I’ve always heard that power corrupts. I think a truer word is that power magnifies one’s character. No one has more power in the life of another than a mom and dad. The more we cling to that power, the more we expose the flaws in our own character. We become our own Dr. Moreau. Isn’t it obvious when we demand a higher standard of behavior from children than we can manage for ourselves? Is this annoying childishness or an actual weed that needs to be pulled? Is it an indicator of a need I haven’t met? I know this: #LoveWins.
What do I know?
I am neither a prophet nor the song of a prophet. I don’t know with absolute certainty what will happen next. I do know what Jesus said. I do see how God disciplines His people. He didn’t and doesn’t strike is down for most things. He seems to have counted relationship as more important. He said I could show Him I love Him by obeying Him. Then made that really simple: the Shema and the Golden Rule. Oh, and this is super cool: He never moves. I don’t get closer to Him by following the rules. I just feel closer. That sounds like a parenting model to me.
I wish I’d known then what I know now. I wish we hadn’t let those seeds of doubt take root. But the only way through is also the only way out. It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Listen. I’ve been let down by myriad exemplars of parenting, fatherhood, and life. We all have. The only example that won’t disappoint, is His. But to follow it, requires God working through me. Unmerited, divine favor. I’ve got to keep getting back up and looking to that example for guidance. Grace. Yeah, Daddy needs grace.