I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Becoming

leave a comment »

We sometimes think our child is deficient because he wants to touch the vase and we have to transform the child into somebody who does not want to touch the vase. But your task is not to teach the child how to be a child—the child already knows how to be a child. You are not teaching your children to be children. You are teaching your children to grow into adults.

This is why, when you are in this showdown across the coffee table, you should look into the future with the eye of faith and see your child standing where you are now standing and their children standing where he is now standing. And how will he know how to deal his son? He will have learned how from you!

If you do not know how to be patient in the face of repeated provocations, your children are not going to know either. When you discipline your children correctly, you are loving your grandchildren. Your job is not to teach them how to be an acceptable child, but to show them how to be a responsible adult—because that is the whole point.

Be honest—you bought the vase at a yard sale last summer and that vase is going to be in another yard sale this coming summer. Who cares about the vase? The child is going to live forever. The child is not something you acquired or are going to get rid of in a yard sale. The vase is. You are not teaching the child to be a good version of what they are. You are rather teaching them to be what they are becoming. . .

This principle does not change. Suppose you are dealing with an obstinate teenager and you are thinking “How to fix the teenager” is your task for the day. Your job is not to fix the teenager. Your task is to model for that teenager how to be a parent. Your teen, in just a few short trips around the sun, is going to have a teenager of her own. You are not training her to be a teenager. She has that down already. You are preparing her for the day when she won’t be. . . .

. . . If I have mastered all the parenting techniques but have not love, I am nothing . . .

Imagine a father and a son in the presence of an unsplit cord of wood. What is the father’s duty? His duty is to take two axes, hand one of them to his son, and to love God and to also love a morning of splitting wood, and to do so alongside his son whom he also loves. That is what godly childrearing is.

Love God, love what you are doing, and love the people God gave you to do it with. Does that remove the need to correct? No, you have to show them how to hold the ax and keep them from swinging it around carelessly. Correction, discipline, teaching, mentoring—all of it must be there because you love Jesus, because you love the wood, and because you love your son. That is what you must do.

Douglas Wilson, Why Children Matter, Chapter 13

See also: Self-control

Written by Scott Moonen

July 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: