Yesterday, we entered in to a new phase of parenting. We discovered one of our children (who shall remain nameless) had been lying to us in a pretty significant way. It was calculated. It had been going on for a long time. It was deceptive and perhaps worst of all, she had encouraged her younger friend to join her in the “fun”. [Don’t worry, we aren’t at the level of selling drugs on the corner yet, but the details aren’t important for this blog purposes.]
I was shocked. I knew kids lied and sinned, but there is something in every mother that mistakenly believes not my kid or at least not in that way. The good news was this unmentioned child was pretty broken by her actions. She started down the path so many of us do when we are found out: I’m the worst daughter ever. You can punish me for the rest of my life. You can have the object (an iPod) that caused my sin. It was a bit on the melodramatic side. But, I am finding, that is where 8 year old girls tend to land.
So as I was processing through it all, I was ready to pounce, but thankfully, I have a wise and even tempered husband whom I found rocking her in the back room, speaking softly and quietly to her. He told her about relationships and about trust and how slowly it is earned and how quickly it is lost. He calmly explained to her how lies breaks relationships, how when we are hiding things from one another, we can’t have the fullness of fellowship. He told her about the importance of being an example to our friends and to lead them towards right and wise decisions. He displayed not only an earthly daddy who loved his little girl and wanted to guide her back on the path of righteousness, but also and more importantly, a heavenly one.
[Years ago, this unmentioned child and her daddy on a different kind of path]
Well, I’m not as calm and even-tempered as that man of mine. In my mind, I was thinking through my own melodrama: How could she do this? How did I not know? Didn’t I teach her better than this? Which launched into my own path of mommy guilt of epic proportions: I’m such a failure. What kind of mom doesn’t know there kid is doing something for this long? I should lose my mothering privileges. I should have been more aware. [She gets it from her mama…apparently.]
I wish I could say I started praying immediately, but instead I launched into self-righteous indignation. And then God hit me. I knew my kids would never be without sin. My favorite quote by a favorite author, Sally Clarkson, is “your kids will stop sinning when you stop sinning.” My child’s sin quickly revealed my own. I was not so much expecting, but I was undoubtedly wanting perfection in my children’s behaviors. But here was a kid crying, broken, and whirling in the emotions that can accompany sin: guilt, depression, feelings of failure and worthlessness.
And God spoke so clearly to me in that moment, in such a way that I think every mama needs to hear it:
Our goal as parents isn’t sinless kids, because that is impossible. Our goal as parents should be kids who know what to do with their sin.
So I took note of my husband’s wise ways and got down low with a sad little girl. I held her close because so often when our sin is revealed, we feel so so far from all the things we love. And we began a long discussion of what do we do with our sinful souls. We talked about Paul and how he too struggled with doing what he knew was right all the time. We talked about Jesus and how he was tempted to go against God’s will for Him and how He stood up to Satan’s attempts to force Him down a path of disobedience. We talked about how God always gives us a way out in our temptations to do wrong. We talked about how no matter what, if we have trusted Christ wholly and completely, He has fully forgiven all our sins: past, present and future. We discussed repentance and confession. We began the long and arduous road of helping this young disciple to deal with her sin.
There is a perfectionist that rages inside of me. She doesn’t want her kids to do wrong. Ever. She doesn’t want herself to do wrong. Ever. Slowly but surely, she is being broken down too and learning through teaching the souls entrusted to her that sin will indeed come, but it is all a matter of what you do with it that matters.
How about you? What has your kid’s sin taught you?
Here’s to #parentinggoals.
Until next time,