We want to model our home after His and allow our children to taste and see that His ways are good so that when they are older, they will not be enticed by what the world has to offer them. I am not talking about legalistic head knowledge of ‘thou shall not’ but the ability to experience it as part of their own journey. Let me give you some practical examples.
Stealing – God says do not steal. When we set up our homes with a value system for not stealing, we are teaching our children that God’s ways work. To steal means to open yourself up for discipline, consequences, and broken trust. We are allowing them to taste and see that God’s ways work. We give them the message, “It isn’t going well for you because you have chosen something outside of God’s protection for you, i.e., stealing.” To ask for something and be denied is hard on the flesh, but as children learn to accept the ‘no’ answers in life it builds character, which will profit them for a lifetime. We don’t punish our children because they chose something outside of God’s best, we use it as a teachable moment to show them why it is important not to steal. (Not saying consequences aren’t warranted, I am saying we don’t want to use Biblical standards for our children and then punish them for not honoring it).
Respect – God says honor your mother and father. When we set up our homes to reflect a core value of honoring authority, we are providing for them covering and protection. This is showing them the beauty of God’s Kingdom. When we allow our children to walk all over us and be rude and disrespectful, we are subjecting them to insecurity, lack of favor and broken connection. They will experience God’s Kingdom by being taught to walk in respect and honor for those in authority over them. Once the twins started high school, they witnessed things they didn’t see in their Christian school. Naturally, I was concerned how this would affect them but because I built a foundation around their identity, we continued to use it as a teachable moment. One day my daughter came home and said, “Mom, I always knew you told us why it was important to walk in who we are, but today I saw with my own eyes what it looks like to have a life not knowing who you are.” Another time she came home really hurt by someone who acted like a true spiritual orphan. She understood the hurt was stemming from them not knowing Jesus and went in her room and wept for them. She spent nearly two hours in her room praying, crying and journaling. When she came out, she said, “Mom, I have got to have more of Jesus. I couldn’t imagine a life without Him.”
Does our parenting model heaven? Think about it – spankings, punish, taking away favorite possessions, isolation, harsh words spoken, exasperated parents… Could there be a better way? God is our perfect Father and knows how to run a family well. Is our parenting modeled to look like heaven? Does God give us three warnings and we are out? Does God spank us and then just leave us to deal with our mess? Does God isolate us when what we really need is enlightenment, understanding or better tools? Is He mad at us when we are acting out the hurt and pain in our heart? Is overwhelmed by our needs? Please hear my heart. I am NOT saying discipline, spankings, or time alone can’t be a valuable tool. I AM saying that when those are the ONLY tools in our parenting tool belt, we might be missing the mark. If it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, could it be some of our control-based parenting tools aren’t bearing good fruit simply because we aren’t modeling it after God’s Kingdom?