Saturday, March 29, 2014

...Provoke Not Your Children

I'm not a parent. It's on my to-do list. But, in real life, having something on your to-do list doesn't make you an expert, anymore than having an idea about something neat, makes you an inventor. 

That being said, I'm an analyst. I've always been a casual analyst. I dissected most of my actions and interactions at different points in my life. And, I have a few words for parents. I'm not going to give them to you all at once, so today's is: Listen!

My parents did an excellent job on the kids in our family (the four biological ones, and the endless stream of other kids who drifted in and out of our home). They were disciplinarians, but their rules (usually) had a sound internal logic. And they were always tempered with love. 

But, when it came to small things, they didn't always do a great job of listening. 

I tended to do what was expected of me, even as a young child. One day, however, I had committed some offense, for which I was both punished and ashamed. I accepted my punishment, in its justice, and had moved to the differential state of repentance.

The shameful nature of my infraction was still of some humor to my mother. When she decided to share my misdeed with some friend with whom she spoke on the phone. I listened on in horror as she began to tell my story. I loudly, and urgently protested this sharing; which only made the story she was telling funnier to her. So, she told the story. And, I had to sit there and listen. 

While I never loudly and urgently protested any topic of conversation with my parents after that, I was never completely open with them either. 

Actions have consequences. Even parental actions. 

Ephesians 6:4 Parents, do not aggravate your kids to silent, seething fury , but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Morris's Dodgy Paraphrase).