As a mom who is striving to raise children who live lives wholly surrendered to Christ, I find myself denying permission to watch, go to, play with, or listen to something. I hate always saying “no”. It is that pressure many of us face and in many cases the weight is so heavy we crack and allow permission against our better judgment.
When we allow permission against our better judgment and “hope for the best” we are doing our children a disservice. At worst we are planting the seed of rebellion. A child may not like boundaries yet they will respect parents who set them and stand by them. When we illogically give a child what he wants the child is happy for the moment but in time he sees only his parents inability to hold true to conviction. This will cause damage that will have a lasting negative effect. The child will learn that flesh comes before conviction.
Another failure in expressing boundaries of those we set for ourselves. Our children watch what we do, what we say and how we spend our time. The old adage of “do what I say and not what I do” has never and will never apply to real world parenting. Children are masters at discerning inconsistencies and hypocrisy. Never underestimate this!
When my oldest was four years old she was well aware that we did not allow her to watch shows or cartoons that glorified magic. Due to what the Word says about magic and witchcraft, we decided to take care in this aspect as far as TV or movies were concerned. Even at four she would not watch certain things based on our convictions not only in this area but others.
One day she innocently asked me, “Why do you watch magic?”, referring to an episode of Star Trek. My husband and I did not have a conviction against Star Trek. While, I do not expect you to agree with me on my convictions I am praying the point of this example is clear. I told her that the transporter was not magic but based on science. It then occurred me to that all the times my husband and I watched Star Trek she was thinking it contained the very thing we denied her. She may not have connected the dots entirely at that point yet it was clear she noticed something was amiss.
While, I still find no harm in Star Trek, it made me realize that I needed to not only give my child the tools of discernment and demonstrate those same tools in my own life. I quickly went over any other area of my life that may appear or be hypocrisy. It is so easy to monitor our children and yet so easy not to monitor ourselves.
Lastly, we need to steer clear from passing judgment or setting standards on the spiritual. If a child hears us saying, “Her skirt is too short…some Christian.” or “How can a good Christian allow her child to listen to such trash.”, we are treading on dangerous ground. We are reinforcing extra biblical standards which only led to a weed of legalism. We risk our children feeling as if Christianity is not about the love of Christ but adhering to a set of standards. Being a Christian is not about following a set of rules but having a relationship with Christ. Your child may not see the forest through the trees and will one day decide to just leave the forest entirely.
Instead of saying “no”, discuss the reasons it would not glorify God. Allow God to speak through the situation and decide if something should be watched, listened to, gone to, or worthy of your child’s time. Many times you will find your child will make the right decision. You are teaching your child to follow his convictions and the path of Christ instead of cutting him off with a “no!”. The same way we teach a child to look something up in a dictionary or an encyclopedia, we need to teach him to look it up in the Bible. Provide the tools, (the Bible), the means (prayer), and the guidance (Holy Spirit and Parental) to make godly decisions. If your child is too young than allow him to watch you go through the steps to seek actions and behavior which glorify God.
Copyright © Richele McFarlin, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved