Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

It's hard enough to be a Christian parent in this world. How do we combat the forces of evil while at the same time raise our children to desire to walk in God's light? By seeking His face, His Word and inspiration from each other as we stumble through this parenting process together. You will find all the instruction, encouragement and resources you need right here at The Greatest Mission Trip You'll Ever Take to help you be the most effective witness to your child that God would have you be. Look around and come back often. Let's learn together.

Monday, May 5, 2008

When Our Children Need A Push

photo by Boris van Hoytema

We went ice skating the other day. A bunch of families made the trek up to Kankakee, donned some hockey skates and enjoyed some fellowship, learning a new skill and laughing over the bruises.
Everyone, that is, except my son. He and his sister had never ice skated before. They weren’t the only ones there who were new to it. Other children needed the same instruction they did and found themselves just as wobbly as they tried to coordinate balance and movement at the same time.

What my son saw, though, were the children whizzing by, racing laps around the rink and purposely skidding on their knees. He wanted to be like them. Now. Instead, he found himself painstakingly scuffing along, spending more time trying to defy gravity than actually making purposeful progress.

I saw just the opposite. His progress was slow and steady, developing a little more confidence and dexterity with each slow lap around. As he came into the player’s box after the third lap, irritated with his lack of progress, I pointed that out to him. It fell on deaf ears. I pointed out other children, even his sister (probably not a good move) who were gaining skill and competence the more they kept at it. He didn’t want to hear it.

As he sulked on the bench, I found myself getting irritated. I don’t mind if my children are not good at something, or if after trying something they decide it’s not their cup of tea. I do mind, however, if they don’t give their best, give up and cop an attitude at the first sign of difficulty. What my son was doing was quitting without really trying, and it didn’t sit well with me.

I finally goaded him back out onto the ice using the fine art of mother’s guilt. His attempt was half-hearted and even spiteful, taking my request for giving it one more try literally and coming in after one lap. I tapped my fingers and bit my tongue, thoroughly disappointed as I watched the clock tick down to just a few minutes left of rink time.

Then it dawned on me. Maybe if I had gotten out there on the ice with him he wouldn’t have given up so easily. He could have leaned on me just long enough to get comfortable, and I could have spoken encouragement as we wobbled around together. Boosting his confidence from the ice would have been much more effective than trying to do it from the player’s box.

To learn hard won godly character, sometimes our children need us to come along side of them instead of pushing them from behind. Yelling from the sidelines or, worse yet, not being there at all, isn’t the motivating force our children need to learn a life of virtue or Spirit-led conduct.

In this case it wasn’t my son who needed the push, it was me.
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1 comment:

rick osborne said...

Wonderful post and a great reminder. God (our Father) comes along side of us and encourages us along. Despite what some think, he's not shouting down judgments from the spectators box. Love what you Deb! Thanks for being transparent and thereby encouraging us all.