Last week was a week of revelations, parenting-wise. In life I find that God tends to reveal truth to us layer by layer as we become ready for more – the old, tired “onion analogy” – and the same seems true in the parenting journey. Suddenly you see more of the picture, and fuzzy thinking becomes sharpened.
The connection between our daughter’s sneaky behavior and her covert rebellious spirit was illuminating. Identifying it was a first revelation; a second revelation was seeing how much addressing the rebellious spirit head-on changed the dynamics in our house. Both got me thinking about attitudes and how they impact behavior. If a little girl’s defiant spirit (in part) causes her to try out sneaky mischief… then why wouldn’t a little boy’s prideful spirit contribute to his bickering habit with his sister? Quickly I became aware of the feeble and incomplete nature of my efforts to address my children’s negative attitudes.
I’ve long understood that what we’re after in godly childrearing is the child’s heart, not their behavior. I get it that the heart, the wellspring of life, needs to be reached and transformed into Christ-likeness for anything truly fruitful to occur in the child. But I ‘ve not actually believed that I could reach my children at the attitude level to any penetrating degree. I haven’t believed that it’s within my power to get them to fully drop the bad attitudes (selfish, pouty, demanding, etc) and thus have settled for their complying, behavior-wise, with my requests. Working with actions is finite; success is clear. (more…)