Saturday, September 11, 2010

It Worked!!!

Tonight I had a very productive conversation with my 10 year old.  He's been really difficult lately with lots of whining, disrespectful tones, bad attitude, disobedience and bad choices.  Tonight, he deliberately disobeyed 4 instructions in a row and seemed to completely ignore the consequences and then blew up when I told him to go to bed.  I'd had enough.  In a moment that could have very easily escalated into one of our "intense fellowships", I had a God-moment.  I was both a parent and a teacher of God's word to my son.  I'm excited about the message that I believe God gave to me and how He lead me to share His message with my son!

We sat on the landing of our stairs and began to talk. My son began to spew his all-too-common monologue of the "freedom" that he is denied in our home.  I didn't argue. I didn't get irritated by the sense of entitlement coming from my son.  Instead, I listened to him and asked him "what type of freedom do you want?"  He gave me a list of demands that were mostly impossible to accomodate (my own room, not sharing his DS games /w his brother, etc).  Then, God spoke to ME.  He said "teach Him about honoring authority and obedience."

So, I began to talk with my son about the authority position that God has given to me, as his mother, and that one of the very first rules God gave to us is in the 10 Commandments - "Honor your father and mother."  Then, I talked to him about the concept of obedience and I told him that, as sons and daughters of God, we need to obey God's rules.  I told him that it is my job, as his mother, to teach him how to honor authority so that when he is a man, he will know how to honor God, his boss at work, and his wife. I told him that I have to teach him how to obey, as a child, so that when he is a man, he will obey God. I explained that if he learns to obey, when he is a father, he will be able to teach his children to obey. 

He wasn't getting it and started the "freedom" talk all over again.  He started talking about how we "treat him like dirt" because we "don't let him live his own life." 

So, I paused, again, and waited for God to tell me where to go.  He gave me Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not turn from it."  I gave that verse to my son and I asked him if he knew what it meant.  We talked about the meaning, which allowed me to reiterate that God was telling me, as a parent, to teach my son about rules, respect, honor, and obedience so that when he is older, he will remember. 

My son asked me why we don't allow him to make his own decisions (which we do, as appropriate!) and I explained to him that he hasn't earned the right to make the kinds of decisions he wants to make.  He hasn't honored his parents in a manner that shows he can honor others. He doesn't show us the respect that he should, which means we can't trust him to be respectful in other situations.  I explained that the types of "freedom" he wants will come to him when we believe he has learned the lessons that God wants us to give to him.

Then, something terrific happened.  My son thought about a particular instance of disobedience and disrespect recently and began to talk about why he had done what he did.  I asked him if he knew that it was a bad decision when he did it and he admitted "Yes."  I asked him "What is it called when we make a bad decision and go ahead with it, even when we know its bad?"  In his hesitance to admit what I could tell he knew, he said "I don't know".  He even avoided giving the answer when I gave him a hint.  His heart was really struggling and Satan was trying to get him to avoid the Truth.  He knew the answer was "sin."

I then reminded him that the Bible says there are consequences for sin and asked him if he remembered what that consequence is.  He said "Death".  So, I asked him if he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior and he said "Yes." (He took this step of faith in May 2010).

Full Circle. This lead me back to the initial point of our conversation - God's rules and my job as his mother.  Teach him to honor and to obey.  I explained, again, how if I teach him to honor his father and me, he will know how to really honor God and His rules for life.  I explained, again, that if he learns to obey his father and me, now, he will be better able to obey God's direction over his life, as a man.

He got it.  In that moment, my son got the message.  It didn't go in one ear and out the other.  I know that tomorrow may be different and his sinful nature may take-over again, but in that moment, I believe that God allowed me to speak to the heart of my son.  I allowed God to come into that moment in a way that I've struggled to do before and I trusted that God would give me the right words to speak His word to my child, and it worked.  That's exciting!!! 

The meeting on the stairs ended with two big hugs between my son and me.  We exchanged "I love you"s.  Then, he calmly went to bed, as he'd been instructed to do. 

Thank you, Father, for teaching me to pause, listen to You, and really let You parent my child through me.  Amen

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