Responding Out Of …
I’ve been learning a lot about being a parent lately (God knows I need all the help I can get), and one thing I’ve been wrestling with is how I respond to my daughter. As a parent there are a lot of ways we can respond to our kids when they need something, make a mistake, or act up. We can respond out of:
And the list goes on (in fact, help me fill out the list in the Comments section of this post if you so desire). Ultimately, each of these is unsatisfactory. I’m convinced that the appropriate and God-honoring place from which we should respond to our kids is love and compassion. After all, isn’t this the way God responds to us, his dearly loved children?
Beyond parenting models and approaches, which deal with specific interventions and disciplinary methods, I believe love and compassion should define our interactions with our kids. In other words, when we discipline or punish or whatever we do, we have to do so from a place of love and compassion. To give us an idea of what this looks like, Michael reminded me of what Paul writes about love in 1 Corinthians 13:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.
1 Cor 13:4-8 (NIV)
I’m sad to say those words haven’t always characterized my responses to my wonderful daughter. (And, thinking holistically, those words haven’t always characterized my responses to my wonderful wife, friends, family, coworkers, etc.) Thankfully, we’re offered grace in the face of shortcomings such as these, and we have the opportunity to extend that grace — and love and compassion — to our kids.