The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:8-13, NIV)
“Do as I say, not as I do.” It is a saying as old as time, isn’t it? It many homes it is the mantra of modern-day parenting. We want our children, especially our teenagers, to grow up doing all the right things we have taught them instead of all the wrong things we did when we were their age. But all too often we set them up for failure by our own example. Then, when they miss the mark that we have set for them, we deal with them harshly forgetting that we were once wayward, too.
For the past couple of years I have struggled as the parent of a young man who is desperately trying to find his way and achieve the independence that will be rightfully his as an adult. At times God’s grace has been present in my parenting, but more often my own strong personality has overshadowed any glimmer of God’s love and mercy. I have dealt more harshly with my son than he deserved, or at least than I had a right to. My own sinful words and actions have caused hurt when grace was needed to heal and to help him through the troubling maze of adolescence.
We want our children to be a godly example for others by making honorable choices consistent with God’s Word, but how can they when we as parents do not model godly behavior or follow the example of our heavenly Father? God’s Word teaches us about the kind of grace we should extend to everyone, especially those closest to us. Yet we allow our children to bring out the worst in us instead of God’s grace in us.
We need only to look in God’s Word for examples of His grace and mercy. If we will extend the same kind of forgiveness and grace to our children that God extends to His own, then we might actually be effective parents who see their children grow up with a heart for God and His ways.
(For more information on raising children in an increasingly challenging culture, read Grace-Based Parenting and Why Christian Kids Rebel by Dr. Tim Kimmel)
Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com