I love my boys. They truly are blessings. I find that my life has been enriched because of the two little gifts that God gave to my wife and me. I love being with them, playing with cars, watching Thomas the Train on Netflix, reading books and the Jesus Storybook Bible, going to get chicken nuggets or play in the park. I enjoy being with them.
However, there is a problem with my parenting.
I know as a daddy that I am supposed to balance between being tough and tender. Daddy needs to be strong and gentle. That is the kind of man Jesus is.
There is a toddler in our family. He is three. I am convinced that three is the new two. I know that he is in a developmental and learning stage. He is experimenting with boundaries and pushing envelopes. He wants to know how far can he go in reference to where Daddy has drawn the line.
When the line is crossed, (usually this is done when toys go flying through the air or he tries to launch himself off of various items of furniture) there has to be some sort of discipline.
I know that I lean more on the tough side then the tender side. I do not always handle things gracefully.
I can sometimes yell more than I should. Then I remember what the Bible says.
As a daddy, I am the Shepherd of my home. I am called to Shepherd my wife and my children by pointing them to Jesus.
I am learning to be better with grace and mercy. I am beyond thankful that Jesus has unleashed buckets of grace and mercy on me. I just don’t parent my boys the same way.
It is easy to spank a child or put them in time out when they throw fits, deliberately disobey, or misbehave when they have been told what kind of behavior is appropriate.
Rebuke and correction are usually followed up with my son saying that he is sorry and that the undesired action will not happen again.
What am I after? If he is only penalized for the undesired behavior, he will only modify his behavior so that he will not get into trouble. He will know what behavior is appropriate for the situation and he might do well. The problem here is this:
I did not disciple my boy or point him to Jesus. I only taught him how to modify his behavior to avoid being disciplined.
I did not address the real issue.
The real issue is not the behavior or the throwing of toys. The real issue is why he did it.
There is nothing wrong with discipline but if all we are doing is correcting behavior, we are not properly shepherding the child’s heart.
I have to talk to my son and find out why he is acting in an undesired way. I need to see if he is acting out because he wants attention, he doesn’t like something, he is hungry, tired or he is being selfish.
I need to speak to his heart so that when he tells me why he did something, I can show him the gospel and show him that Jesus died for him and that undesired behavior.
My parenting prayer is this:
Please help me be a better daddy. Help me to be tough when I need to be tough. Help me to be tender when I need to be tender. Help me to show grace and mercy in the same way that you have showed me grace and mercy. Help me to love my boys unconditionally and help everything that I do point them to you.