Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Twisted Parable of Ephesians 6:4

In need of lessons about how to provoke your children to anger?  Don't miss the following news story:
Grocer drops sandwich charge that cost couple custody of daughter
While the story has more to do with customer service than it does with parenting it still reads like a twisted parable of Ephesians 6:4.  A quick run through of what not to do:
  1. The first time your child even unintentionally misbehaves come down on them as harshly as possible no matter if they knew the rules or not.
  2. Be unrelenting and refuse to reconcile with your child even if they are truly repentant.  Make sure that there is absolutely nothing they can do to satiate your anger until you personally feel vindicated.
  3. Don't give appropriate discipline. Instead, take away your child's most prized possession for an undetermined amount of time so that they are sure to know that you are a tyrant.
  4. Make sure your child knows that you are dedicated to protecting your own image to outsiders, but are too proud to seek forgiveness from them when you both know you've gone too far.
  5. Make amends with your child only after they've paid multiple times over for their "offense" and be sure to let them know all along the way that they are still at fault.
I'm sure there are probably additional lessons here that I have overlooked.  Also to be fair, we don't know exactly what the store in question has/hasn't done for this family after the fact, but this is the only information that we have to go on.  Still, a little grace would've gone a loooong way in this situation.

As parents we need to remember that while disobedience in our children is sin, we are never the primary offended party.  That distinction belongs to God alone (Ps 51:4).  Our responsibility as parents, in both word and deed, is to communicate this truth to our children and to administer appropriate discipline when necessary in keeping with Biblical standards.  A little grace goes a long way. And that's really the entire point - lovingly communicating to our children in every circumstance their need of the Gospel of grace.

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