Parenting with Grace

We recently watched the Lion King. What a great movie! Last year our group, an organic church, had a meeting and we shared the ways we saw the Lord in movies. The Lion King came up and from there I have not been able to stop thinking about all the pictures of Christ’s design in this wonderful movie.

The thing about the enemy’s lies is that they have a hint of truth in them and sometimes they are not lies at all. Our sense of entitlement, our pride, jealously, or any other part of our human nature makes us susceptible to falling into a trap. In the beginning of the movie the king’s brother, who happens to be evil, coordinates a chain of horrible events to happen. And I don’t think he even has to lie to do it. He appeals to the rebellious nature of the young ones and offers up excitement. They take the bait because they are inexperienced and don’t have the discipline it takes to realize the evil one wants to harm them. The King then has to sacrifice himself in order to save the defiant, stubborn child. Man, if that’s not a picture of the Church and Christ I don’t know what is. The bad Lion, Scar, is also always pointing out the mistakes of others. He is either correcting others or reminding them of their failure, with the intention to cause feelings of guilt. I have felt that way so many times. I have felt like nothing I do is right and I am constantly being corrected. I have felt that way at jobs I’ve had, in my marriage, with my family, and with groups of friends. Sometimes I just gave in to the temptation to see what the enemy was trying to show me, instead of looking to Christ, the One who has cleared my name.

There’s a very practical message in the movie. As a parent I am concerned with the hearts of my children. I want them to be strong leaders in their future homes, with the love and compassion that Christ gives, for their families. The best way to lead our kids is to model what we would like to see them doing.

As we prepare for another year of learning together I think ahead to the end of the year. What would I like to see my children doing? How would I like to see them behaving? Looking ahead and realigning when we lose focus helps to achieve goals. There are so many issues we are working on, with three young boys in the house and me. One of the most difficult areas is showing them that I have the authority and I am allowed to scold them, but they can’t scold each other. Sometimes it feels like all I do is punish, correct, and scold them. And then I begin to know how they feel as I relate to the moments when I keep messing up and it keeps getting pointed out. Sometimes, and I do mean only sometimes, I let an offense go. I can gauge when my child is having a tough day for whatever reason. If my son who never cries begins crying a lot, I cut him some slack. Constant punishment is counterproductive. I can relate to the feeling of “Jeez, I just can’t do or say anything right!”

Just like our gracious, merciful Heavenly Father I am balancing correction and punishment on the fine line with raising responsible, accepting, kind, and forgiving sons. As most of you know we are using the unit study Weaver this year. Each “school” day begins with a scripture and then the social studies and science stem off from there. I’ve decided to leave that part out, the bible lesson. Because a bible lesson is not necessarily a character lesson. Actually for us, it has never been a character lesson. We find Christ in the living, in people and the all the earth. If the Scripture comes alive, we find Him there. But for young boys we have to be careful that the bible does not become dry or a chore for them.

In conclusion, the enemy does enough accusing. Most adults and children know when we are wrong. If we don’t know, eventually the Holy Spirit convicts us and we find out. And while we need correction and punishment, sometimes it’s best to just serve each other with grace. Even our children.

I would like to quote some Charlotte Mason as I say good-bye for the day. The words in parenthesis are mine. “A word about the reading of the Bible. I think we make a big mistake in burying the text under our endless comments and applications. Also, I doubt if the picking out of individual verses, and grinding these into the child until they cease to have any meaning for him, is anything but a hinderance to the spiritual life. The Word [Christ is the Word] is full of vital force, capable of applying itself.” -CM volume 1, p.163

Have a great day filled with mercy, grace, and forgiveness!




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