Yes, before he fought aliens or got jiggy with it, before he was the dating doctor in Hitch, when the prince was still Fresh, he was giving his advice on parenting. And what were his sage words: “parents just don’t understand.” “Yeah, that about sums it up.” See here

I’ll share about this morning. As a great parent in her own right, my wife, seeking to avoid the early morning clothes crisis I’m sure parents of six year old daughters can relate too, her clothes were picked out the night before. And testifying to our lack of understanding, the clothes that were “perfect” the night before were now fit inducing. You know kicking, yelling, defiant, and disrespectful. The kind of fit that needs and exorcist rather than a parent. Let me interject here that yes, Fresh Prince, I don’t understand. Although, Daddy Will Smith would probably agree your kid in this state is tougher than Freddy Kruger and Mike Tyson put together. Remember those two, Will? Get old school here and here.

Recap, daughter has thrown a disrespectful, kicking yelling fit over a pair of leggings and still thinks she’s right, and the case is brought to dad. Here are the points that stand out to me for your reflection, but be warned, I don’t understand any of this.

1. Parenting Happens at the Speed of Life: I like it best when I just came out of a powerful prayer time, having read the Bible with a chaser of John Gray, Ted Trip, Sam Lang and an episode of the Cosby show. Yet, most often, it’s like this morning. I’m shirtless, hair sticking up trying to have a serious talk with my daughter, and she reaches over, plucks something off of my chest and says, “You have a feather from your pillow on your booby.” How can you parent effectively, with the wisdom of Solomon and Ward Cleaver, after a line like that? But this is where parenting really happens. It’s Texas prison rules. Kids can say anything and do anything. Parents, here’s my take on this one. Don’t get in a hurry. Anger is fast; patience is slow. If you need to laugh in a moment like that, sometimes you take five and pick up the discipline when the moment has passed. When we discipline rashly from the hip in our anger, we’re retaliating rather than parenting. Stand tall, we’re parents. Take the time you need. Even if you have to say, we’ll talk about this later. As long as your kids know you will truly come back, this can work. It’s one of my secret weapons when an apt reply escapes me.

2. God and Parents Oppose the Proud and Give Grace to the Humble: The concept is repeated throughout the Bible “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble” 1 Peter 5:5. Admittedly, I don’t understand why we get locked in this battle. Well, that’s not entirely true, I know I’m rebellious and will fight to be right even when I know I’ve done wrong. Why should I be surprised when my kid does the same? The part I don’t understand is why we do it over and over again. This is true, when we are proud and can’t admit we’re wrong, God opposes us. When we acknowledge, I am wrong help me be different, God is there with his grace and favor. Parents, I think we’ve got to do the same. This morning my daughter was not interested in looking at herself. She didn’t want to look at how she was disrespectful, how she was ungrateful; throwing a fit and convinced she’s right. If I love the sweet girl who’s showing these traits, I must parent through this heart condition. The outward actions are symptoms of the greater internal condition. The heart that says I know better, I’m the exception to the rule, I’m not wrong is what pushes us away from close relationships and eventually causes us to turn away from God. It’s our responsibility to help them to unmask their hearts and relent in this area. Some of you may read this and say “I don’t want to break their spirit. I want them to be independent: not a push over.” Me too. Humility is not being mealy-mouthed, a pushover or low self-esteem. Humility is the ability to see yourself as you are and admit when you are wrong. This is the ultimate form of self-esteem I don’t have to think less of myself or too highly of myself just see things as they are and respond accordingly. When I’m wrong, change, be sorry, make amends, and get reconciled. Leggings are never the issue. If we allow our children and ourselves to live through situation after situation where this heart condition goes unchecked. It will be full grown and the foundation of their character for the rest of their lives will always have this deep undermining crack.

3. Don’t be Lazy. Dig until You Reach the Heart: I’m right there with you in all my feather-boobed glory. I get to a point sometimes on an issue like this where I ask myself “What am I trying to accomplish here?” Our kids get there too. My daughter knows the right words. She knows to say she’s sorry. She knows to go to the person and apologize. She knows to seek forgiveness. Parents, here’s where you have to know your children and love them enough not to let the right words and the wrong heart rule the day. It may not be in that moment that you help them to see it. But we’ve got to be vigilant and know that these battles of the heart are more valuable than anything we may give ourselves to. Our wives and kids are the first people in line. They are our greatest ministry. The days are short and before you know it, the world will be opened before them and the time for training will be over and the game will be on for real. This is just an appeal not to let the real issues go. I fight with myself on this every day. Let’s stick together and give our kids the love they deserve.

Agree with me? Hate these ideas? Need some music to listen to while you cool down? Comment and let me know what you think.

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