Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hurt No Living Thing

We realized about four months ago that our parenting/discipline style wasn't working.
To be frankly honest, we were just going with how we had been parented and how it was preached and taught in the church we used to attend. 
And it wasn't working with Million.
And it wasn't sitting well in our souls.
Does God sit around waiting for His kids to screw up, just so He can punish them when they don't obey on the first time? 
Does God's discipline of His children make Him an adversary or an ally?
How important is first-time obedience to God?
Does He care more about the behavior or the state of the heart?
Were we disciplining more for the other people watching and standing by and less for our kids?

I realize I'll likely open a can of worms with those rhetorical questions.  But they're ones that we've been hashing through. (I welcome comments, but please keep any conversations constructive!)

The way we do parenting is filled with thought.  And fraught with mistakes.  We make mistakes constantly.  But we think about them and confess them and learn from them.  

So right now, we're in this funky phase of life where we're learning to listen to our son's heart, learning to apply grace as a salve, still addressing behavior, but listening to his heart.  And it's taking him a long time to heal.  But as he heals, he opens.  And he blossoms.  And he exposes hurts and fears.  Sometimes the most beautiful moments in life are shrouded in shadows. It always happens when I least expect it.
We'll be driving in the car, and he'll say "Mama, will I ever see you again?"
Or, "I wish I had blue eyes and not brown eyes."
Or we'll be at a wedding, and he'll realize that he is not the same skin colour as his parents.  And he'll get scared because he didn't realize it before.

And when we change things, he wiggles and teeters and acts up.  But he grows.  And things get better.  Slowly, slowly, slowly. 

And as we learn this new style of parenting, this new dance to a grace-filled rhythm, we're learning what sinners we are.  We're humbled.  We're growing closer to our Saviour.  We're learning how much we need to be allowing Him to parent through us, instead of allowing man-dictated practices be our controlling methodology. 

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep. 

Christina Rossetti

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