Wednesday, May 28, 2003
:: RELEVANT magazine :: Being A Relevant Parent - Josh Hatcher
Well, that topic got my attention. It's tough enough raising kids like our parents did, where the adults knew all the answers and the kids had to take "'cause I said so" as reason enough to obey. These days, we as parents know less than the kids sometimes, and there has to be a better "reason" for understanding obedience... right?
Hatcher's topics are:
* Teach Truth
* Defend Your Child's Innocence
* Show Affection
Most of these are "well, duh" kinds of things. But the call to defend innocence, to discipline properly, and to show affection are so lacking in the kids I see coming through our youth groups and schools today. He is right on about watching what your kids see on TV. There are alot of shows on Nickelodeon, Disney, and PBS that are wonderful, funny and educational. But we have some shows on Nick and Cartoon Network that are offlimits - not because we're forbidding them, but because we've told our kids that they're not funny, that they're not as good as the other shows, that the overly-gross and repugnant or dangerous humor just isn't worth watching. I want them to make those choices, to see what's worth spending time on, etc - not just feel Daddy's strict overbearing authority.
For us & discipline, our kids are fairly different. Trace has an imbalance that does require medication, and I know that it's a crutch for a lot of families. But at the same time, we've got to teach him behaviorly how to control himself, how to make wise decisions, etc. I won't rely on meds to keep him in check. And he's making great strides in keeping check of his emotions, staying calm in the face of things he doesn't like, etc. Cammi is different - one quick pop usually does the trick, and we're instilling the same sense of self-control in her to make the right choices and to think of others. "Self-control" is a fruit of the Spirit - watching Trace and Cammi grow up is a barometer of how much the Spirit is really moving and grooving in/through our family.
One last note on "showing affection." Going to the Cleansing Streams retreat a few weeks ago, I was struck by the confession/repentance/deliverance over abuse in so many families. One of the leaders "repented" for the person who might've harmed you, said "I'm sorry for doing all that, for hurting you, for ignoring you...." - things the person would probably never say, but stuff that needs to be forgiven and let go. Anyway, I was struck by my own kids, and my daughter in particular (I don't know why). They'll never have to hear that from me, I pray. I want them to hear stuff like that and say, "My mom & dad never let us down like that, never abandoned us emotionally, never left us hanging for affection." And I was so overwhelmed with love for both of my kids. I prayed for them in the hallway, and when I got home later that night, after they went to bed, and I continued to pray over them as they slept. And the next morning, I tickled the tarnation out of them - and told them that I love them. They'll know Daddy's affection - for them and for their Mom.