I have been convicted and challenged by several posts from the Femina blog lately.
The first is a post on “Standards.” She challenges us by saying, “If your kids don’t love the standard, lower the standard.” Now, at first read, you might get worried that what she is saying is to lower your expectations if your kids don’t like them. That’s not at all what she means, though. One commenter noted that it reminded her of hurdles in track. If the hurdle is too high, the kids can’t get over it, so you lower it to the right height for them and then keep raising it as they are able to do it. The gospel is not about drudgery but about delighting in our Savior, and we want our delight to be contagious!
The next post is a followup on “Loving the Standard.” She continues by saying,
Yes, it’s lovely to see a family all neat and clean and in order. But at what cost? Does Dad yell at them at the breakfast table? Does Mom scold them all the way to church? I’m telling you, God hates it and so do the children. Rather a row of squirmy kids with mismatched socks who are happy and love their parents than a battalion of persecuted and long-faced misery counting the minutes until church is over.
When the kids are feeling persecuted this way, parents are the ones who need to change, not the kids. That is why lowering the standard for the kids is actually raising the bar for the parents.
The third post was actually the most convicting to me, especially in my control-freak nature. She says,
When God wrote down His commandments, He gave us only ten. And those ten could be summarized in two: Love the Lord with all you have, and love your neighbor as yourself.
We parents, on the other hand, do just the opposite. Rather than imitating our Father in Heaven, we lay down rule after rule, command after command. We would do well to consider what it is we are creating, whether it is modeled after the Garden or modeled after some dungeon in the bad place.
Am I unnecessarily burdening my children for my own ease and comfort? How can I better portray our Lord Jesus to them, who offers an easy yoke and a light burden?
So consider how many rules in your home are not really for your children, but for yourself. Consider reducing the number. Consider reducing the commands. Lighten the load. Be like Jesus who was meek and lowly of heart, who told His disciples to learn from Him.