I overheard the toddler telling the teenager just the other day, 'Clean your room. You've got a lot of stuff in the floor, and Jesus wants you to clean your room!'
Now I know I've told the teenager to clean her room at least once daily since way before the toddler came to realize she had feet...much less know anything about Jesus...but what struck me as odd was her choice to use Jesus instead of me as the authoritative figure to challenge her sister.
Don't get me wrong. That's exactly the way it should be. We should worry about keeping our Savior happy with our thoughts and actions far before anyone else. What struck me as odd was she had both seen and been victim to the consequences of not listening at my hand, not that of Jesus. Granted, the two sisters are disciplined in much different manners when the situation dictates, but she still knew that her sister keeping her room clean was akin to her keeping her toys picked up when not playing with them...or not jumping on the furniture...or not messing with the different devices in the entertainment center...or not, oh...you get the point! When she messes up, mommy and daddy aren't happy, so Jesus must not be happy too.
I hold my kids to high expectations and subscribe to the 'Do Hard Things' philosophy in life. Good grades are expected just as good manners are too. God must come first in every situation. Attitude and effort are not things you sell short. The end doesn't justify the means because there are always a number of right and wrong ways to get to the end. Compromise and morals are very dangerous words to use together in a sentence much less in practice.
Both of my girls (and I'm sure number 3) are strong willed almost to the point of stubbornness. I would say it drives me absolutely nuts, but my wife is often there to remind me exactly where the trait comes from in them...with a mirror. That fact causes me a lot of anxiety because I know the trials and troubles caused in my own life by it. So I pray...
Prayer has been woven throughout our blogs this week and was mentioned in each post. Important? More like essential if you expect to succeed as a parent. Our relationships at home are based on a model of the most holy order. Inevitably, you are going to be heart broken if you have children. Deal with it. God graciously loves us in spite.
Now let me get all James Lehman on you. Consistency is the key when dealing with your kids at whatever age. We have the ultimate example of that fact in our Heavenly Father who gave us life, gave us His expectations in a written Word, gave us promises He will fulfill, and set us on our way to serve His Kingdom.
That my friends hasn't changed since life was first breathed into dust.
Love your kids with all your heart by showing them the ways of the Lord...He comes first, then your spouse, and they are firmly next through thick and thin. Always give honor to your own parents, so they see your example. I believe God intends family to be an eternal thing because He dedicates so much of His word to the subject matter. You won't find a specific doctrine or Scripture that confirms my belief, but I must not be alone in feeling that way...
...because Satan sure spends a lot of effort on evil ways to break our families apart.
May God bless you and your family this weekend. I encourage you to spend time with your family this weekend in a House of the Lord and lift your praises up to Him together. Nothing could do more to draw you closer to one another.
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.