RIGHT…Who does that?
Personally, I hope my children make wise choices. I pray they will be kind, loving, respectful, and obedient. (Of course I prefer they do these wonderful things naturally, without any embarrassing learning moments to endure.) I may not agree with the before mentioned expert’s prayer, but I do agree mistakes (handled well) bring about learning and growth.
And while I might not pray for my kids’ failure, I am learning to expect and accept it.
As parents we start out accepting our little one’s failure… well. When our babies begin to to walk we expect falls. We know that is how they will learn. But once we start applying this failure philosophy to relationships, like when my kid bit someone (the soccer coach – oops) or won’t share her toys when the neighborhood kids come over to play, then suddenly mistakes are unacceptable.
Not too long ago I received a call from one of my children’s teachers. My daughter had been rude and disrespectful to a parent volunteer. Yikes. When I put down the phone I felt mad and embarrassed.
The folks at school probably thought I was a slouchy mommy. This was not how I had trained my child.
After school my daughter endured a stern “show proper respect to adults” lecture. She spent three hours writing (and rewriting ) the perfect apology letter. To cap it all off, she had to spend her allowance money on an apology plant to accompany the perfect note.
Even thought she did all the right things, my daughter went to bed that night feeling BAD and with no real repentance in her heart.
I did not deal with this well.
Moms and dads, the good news is we always get another shot because children will continue to make mistakes…even if we don’t pray for them to mess up.
A few months later I got my own do-over.
I caught the same child stealing lip gloss from her sister. Instead of lecturing her, I stayed calm and drew her attention to the really important part: her sister (the victim!). I asked, “How do you think your sister might feel about the stealing? What might this do to your relationship?”
And this time, instead of her heart hardening under my wrath, she softened in the realization of her sin and she started to feel SAD.
She apologized quickly and repaid her sister for the stolen goods without any prompting from me.
She (and I ) learned a few things during this episode. She learned the importance of kind and loving behavior. She learned how to respect her sister and be obedient to the family rules. (Of course we haven’t fully arrived yet in this area, but relational growth is happening in our family.)
So the next time your children (or mine) screw up, instead of making them feel BAD for their mistake, let’s help them feel SAD for their sin. This is how they will learn and grow.
When God makes you feel sorry enough to turn to him and be saved,
you don’t have anything to feel bad about.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (CEV)
Can you think back on a situation in which you might have turned BAD into SAD and how you might handle it differently next time?
Dale Skram is a real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach, uses her gift and passion for authenticity to make Jesus famous and invite women into a life of greater freedom, purpose, and abundance through truth and grace. Dale works with Stonecroft Ministries, Denver Speaker’s Bureau, and MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Dale’s real life took an unexpected turn last year when her marriage of 24 years ended in divorce. She is now raising her four beautiful girls (ages 10, 13, 15, 18) as a single parent in her home in Boulder, Colorado. You can connect with her at www.DaleSkram.com.