In my quest to be the parent that God would have me be to my DD & DS, I have been doing a bit of meditating on a little quip relayed to me by a friend in Illinois. About 2 years ago Bianca was telling me about a time when she and her DD Sarah were out running some errands and that while driving down a neighborhood street they spotted a dog in the back of a pick up truck parked on the side of the road. Sarah remarked to her Mom that the dogs was just sitting there and didn't try to jump out. Bianca made the comment that, Yes that dog is being very good isn't he. Well as they drove past, Sarah noticed that the dog was tied up to a leash strapped to the pick up truck bed. Upon noticing that the dog was tied up Sarah rebutted, "He isn't being good. He can't jump out."
That phrase has stayed with me for 2 years now and every time I discipline my children that phrase comes back to me. I have learned so much from the 3 year old daughter of my friend. When my children are being taught and directed to do or not to do something, are they doing it because of fear of punishment or are they being good? We all know the reasons as to why that dog wasn't trying to jump out of the back of that pick up truck. One could be that the dog knew if he jumped out he would hang himself. Another reason could be that he just assumed, like times before when he was tied up, that it was no use to fight it. He wasn't going anywhere anyway. As Sarah said, he wasn't being good. See to be good is to choose to do good. Even this 3 yo little girl knew that. He wasn't given the choice. I wonder if he had been given the choice, what would he have chosen.
Am I teaching my children to be good or to just do what they are told? Yes, obeying is good and yes I believe that the obedience I teach my children to have for me they will probably be transferred to God when they are out of the house but that is not a guarantee. But if I teach my children to be good and not to just obey, they won't have to be told what is good or bad to do. Don't get me wrong, I am all for leadership and following the man of God but there needs to be foundational relationship with that God or they may end up drinking the Kool-Aid one day. What is going to happen when there is no authority. Will they choose to do good or will they be like that dog and jump and run for it as soon as the leash is loosed.
So how do I handle this. Love is a strong component. When someone loves you, they will do almost anything for you. I have been purposely trying to help my children fall in love with me, their Dad, the Bible, The LORD, their Pastor and help to compel them to want to do good because they love the LORD not just because they fear Him. Yes they should fear Him but as the song goes,Praise Him Praise Him all ye little children, God is Love,God is Love. Love is a much greater constrainer than fear.
Am I giving my children the tools that they need in order to unconsciously do good or are they just not jumping because they are tied down?