Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's The Big Deal?: Parenting with Eternity in Mind

Most of us have felt it, but have we chosen wisely once we've thought through the feelings?

It's almost time for youth drama (or choir or whatever event it might happen to be). My child is eleven, but the age for being in youth is twelve. She looks at me with those longing eyes, "Mama, can I pleeeeeeeeease be in it? I'm almost twelve. Just one more month, and I'd be old enough."

I feel her pain. I ache for her.

If I follow my feelings and the authorities will allow it, I'll make it happen.

But what is the eternal perspective of this scenario? Is there more than meets the eye?

"She really wants this. It's not a bad thing," I could reason. "In fact, it's a good thing. I'm so glad she wants to be involved with the youth at church! Her closest friends are already twelve, and she feels left out. What's the big deal? There's no major difference between eleven and twelve anyway, especially if it's eleven years, eleven months! Who could be ridiculous enough to enforce that?!"

If we take this seemingly innocent-all-too-common path, I believe we are helping push our children the wrong direction.

If we try to look through the eyes of Christ and New Testament teaching, is this not an accurate view of what is really going on?

"Mama, there is something my flesh wants badly. I want it more than anything in the world at this moment. I don't like feeling left out, and my feelings are what matter most. I don't care what the rules are or what they are for. I know what I feel. I don't care what anybody else in the church family or fellowship thinks or believes. I know what I want. I don't care about other kids whose parents won't let them join until they are twelve. Let them fend for themselves. I want what I want. So make it happen, Mama. Get me what I want."

So many seemingly small things can push us down the path of following the flesh. The habits we form as children will likely dictate what we become later in life (or at least what we will struggle with most.) God help us all as parents to do whatever we can to build our children's resistance to what is probably the biggest battle we Christians must fight.

Godspeed, my dear readers!