Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Don't Talk To Me!"

When we behave badly, consequences are not usually pleasant, but they are necessary. One of the many things God has taught me as I parent my daughter has to do with the issue of behaving badly, and the consequences that hopefully lead us to sincere repentance.  

This post is taken from a section of my newsletter entitled "Things I Have Learned From My Little Girl" that I wrote back when Rachel was three years old. I plan for this and similar posts to eventually be published in an ebook format. Last week, I posted links to a number of other similar posts in the series.If you missed them last week, you can find those links here.

"Don't Talk To Me!"

Don’t you just love it when your little one gets sassy and talks back to you?  NOT!  Rachel has picked up a bad habit from a video she saw where one of the characters said to another in a mean voice, “Be quiet! Don’t talk to me!”  Rachel latched onto that phrase, and has been using it on me…mostly when I am telling her to do something she doesn’t want to do.  (Needless to say, this particular video has been blacklisted in our home.)  

I tried various ways to bring this under control, including actually going silent after she said this, refusing to talk even when she tried to interact with me.  I don’t do this with an angry attitude – just with a sad face.  That finally got a response.  When she made the connection between what she said and my silence, she would quickly, and kind of flippantly, say she was sorry.   

The trouble is, in just a little while, she would say it again.  She was only sorry she was experiencing the consequences of her disrespect, but it didn’t touch her heart.  Not really.   

I’ve had to take things a bit farther.  A simple “I’m sorry, Mommy,” doesn’t loosen my tongue now.  I wait longer, until she has felt at a heart level what it means to have Mommy not talk to her.  

Then, when I can see she is truly sorry, I gladly hold her, reassure her of my love, and we talk about how important it is to speak respectfully.  Since I started using this strategy, I have heard Rachel catch herself a couple times when she started to let the words slip.  It seems something is getting through.

Rachel is not alone in picking up sinful habits and thinking simply saying the words “I’m sorry” will make everything right.  

It is true that God is always ready and willing to forgive someone who is truly repentant.  But when we say “I’m sorry” to Him again and again for the same thing, sometimes our loving Heavenly Father has to take things up a notch, so to speak, and let us really feel the consequences of our actions before we truly desire to leave the sinful thing behind.  

The wonderful thing is, He does this not because He enjoys punishing His children, but because He wants the best for us, even as I want the best for Rachel.  He wants to see us grow in godly character, and will do even the hard things to help us grow.   

And thankfully, He is always ready and longing to take His repentant child in His arms to enjoy restored relationship once again.

From newsletter 20081016

If you are a parent of young children, does this bring any thoughts to mind  about the use of logical consequences as you guide and teach your young ones? How might you apply this principle in a way you may not have thought of before?

Now bring it into the adult world. Has God ever had to "take things up a notch" with you to bring you to a point of true repentance? Was the experience pleasant and welcome? Was it worth it in the end? Why?

Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog