Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thoughts on Respect From Kids

I have not been great at reading blogs this week. I'm trying to catch up slowly. I went for a visit to one of my favorites, Rejoice, and found a wonderfully challenging and convicting post my Tami. I hope you read it.

This is just really my thought after reading it myself.

There was a lot of good presented to me in my upbringing. There was some bad. This is no surprise to my folks, or me now that I'm a parent because we know we are fallen people trying to do the best we can in the strength of the Lord. I do know that the issue spoken of in Tami's blog post has been a generational parenting philosophy problem passed down in my family. Well, it's been passed down through humanity I'm sure, but when a family does not have healthy intervening Godly changes made it just keeps carrying on and on. The pattern is that of demanding respect as a parent simply on the basis that we, the parent, deserve it. It is something Rick and I both have picked up from our upbringing.
Now, the idea itself, that parents are to be respected is true. I think what Tami addressed is our attitude of heart when we don't get the respect from our children. I have been guilty of thinking I deserve it because of my position. It really is not a Christlike attitude for parenting. Tami talked about humility. Does the humble parent let the child therefore walk all over them? The amazing thing is that you can be strong and humble at the same time. In fact, I become stronger in my humble leading because the very power of the Lord is in my parenting when I do that. Any time we give up ourselves we find Christ instead. When I don't I become a selfish stubborn roadblock that creates a division between my child and me, and my child and God because I am not leading them to Him.
There is so much that can be said on this topic. I especially struggle with demanding respect from my kids. Why? Because it is a quick fix right? They just do it and I have accomplished my mission. Right? "Say Yes Mam!" "Say Yes Sir!" We got what we want from them, so we are respected. This is what I've been programed by. It's the style of parenting I've seen and taken on naturally myself.
The greatest struggle is to reprogram parenting habits. Not just taken from what you were taught, but what you have been doing for the past x amount of years. Yet, with God all things are possible. I have such a hard time taking something like this and actually finding change. Something Tami said hit the nail on the head for me:

Be an example, live your life in such a way that your are respectful. Then you will not focus on whether or not you are respected, your focus will be on whether God is respected. You see, the key desire we should have for our children should be that they show their honor and love for the Lord by respecting and obeying us.It isn't about whether or not we deserve it, it is that God deserves it. You need to be an example of respect to your children. You need to portray humility because humility is the only way you can have the fruit of the Spirit in the midst of rebellion.

That is what it's all about, living by the fruit of the Spirit. I forget that so often. I then, will hear something like this great post from Tami and say "This is it! I'll try harder to do this!" only to find disappointment as I fail and revert back to my selfish patterns. How do I practically apply wisdom passed on to me like this? How can I be free from patterns that seem to be the very fibers of my parenting?
I think the answer is prayer, and renewing of the mind. The power behind them both being the work of the Holy Spirit. I can so easily feel defeated and think "I just can't seem to do this and I just proved it by failing again. Others can parent this way because they started from the beginning.... lucky them. I'm forever doomed to this bad way of parenting. It's all I know."

Wow, what a deception from the enemy. The thing that God has used Tami for in my life, and used His Word spoken through her for, is to remember the joy of my salvation. I have a hard time keeping joy. I know I am not alone. The reason I know it is because I think it is the one mission of the enemy to steal that treasure that has been given by Jesus to his children. Then we are open to deceptions when our joy is stripped from us. We start to seek out temporary joys in temporary solutions. We have a momentary egotistical joy that our kid just submitted to us only to ignore the fact that what we just got from them was a sweeping under the rug of the dirt in their heart just so that we can look and deceive ourselves that they look behaved.
Joys response would be me keeping my eyes on the goal, renewing my mind with scripture (not like some works oriented monk chanting these verses and banging my head on my bible all day long, but by praying always in the Spirit with I walk by the way, when I sit down, when I get up...... as the breath of His Spirit moves me) and praying. Joy does not discourage with failing but rejoices with the truth. What is the truth? The truth is that I am held by God in equal measure at all times. Alicia tends to discourage with failing and forget the truth. Alicia tends to lean on a formula instead of leaning on God. Alicia would rather be lazy and sweep dirt under the rug rather than pull out the power of God to address the removal of the dirt in her kids life. Alicia tends to get angry at the dirt rather than find joy in the fact that God pointing it out is an act of love to her so that He can use her as a clay pot filled with his Holy Spirit to address that dirt through him. Alicia needs to be okay with dirt showing up again and again because it is a joy to have the job of leading her child in the process of renewing their hearts.
I'm getting on a rabbit trail..... a dirty one at that...:*
Anyway... I thought the post was excellent and I think I'll read it a few times. You know, another practical thing is to print these and things that the Lord uses to speak to me and read them over a few times in the week and then pray for the change He wants to make in me from them.
I'm sorry if I lost some of you in my dirt analogy. Sometimes I loose myself in there somewhere too.

1 comment:

tricia said...

I read this post yesterday. I always enjoy reading what Tami has to say. I think it if very much apart of our culture to expect kids to respect their parents. I never thought of respect in terms of a heart issue with my kids. I realized for me showing respect to John was a heart issue for me. I never thought of it in terms of my kids. For me the first step was to pray that my heart would change, then I need to make sure I behaved respectful to John. I respect John not because he demands it, but because that is what God tells me to do. (Does that make sense?) Now I need to address the heart issue with my kids and pray for guidance.