My husband and I officially have a tween–with an attitude. And recently, we had our first sit down attitude correction discussion. One of the more salient points of that discussion for me, was realizing that God put us as parents here to be spiritual guides for our children. I mean I knew this, but exactly what that looks and sounds like became very real for me as we were calmly listening, affirming our daughter, setting boundaries for behavior, and grounding all of this within the context of scripture.
Phew! That’s a mental–and emotional– workout.
I cannot tell you enough how glad I am that my husband and I have a thorough knowledge of God’s word. I can’t imagine needing to grab a concordance or look up scriptures in the middle of conversational crossfire before we could show our daughter what her role and what our role according to scriptures are.
Bottom line? By the end of this very emotional discussion about being disrespectful, we had both modeled and instructed just as God intended us to do as spiritual guides. And we stated what this meant, so there would be no confusion.
What does it mean? It means, that while a child is learning how to live according to God’s will for themselves, we as parents are entrusted with decision making for our child. As the child grows in their maturity in the Lord, we are to allow them more freedoms to exercise their freewill. When they demonstrate spiritual irresponsibility with this freedom, it may need to be limited again for a time until the child shows maturity again. Eventually, the child becomes spiritually autonomous either out of godly maturity or simply because they’ve aged out of your home. That doesn’t mean that we cease to be spiritual guides, but it does mean that the role will look different.
Remember, Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
So being effective spiritual guides for our children now, means that they will have the training they need to become effective spiritual guides for their children, who will in turn for their children, and the generations to come.
Pray it forward!