sábado, 8 de novembro de 2014

"Break down to build up"

One of these Sundays Miriam preached on the text of Colossians 3:20-21. Through that (and also Ephesians 6:4), she taught us that "the parent's job is to break a child's will and not their heart". I was astonished by the simplicity of the statement and the complexity of the task. I wasn't, of course, analyzing my experience as a parent, but as a babysitter and educator (that's the closest I've been to parenting).
How do I know what the heart and the will are when, in those crucial "parenting" moments, everything seems the same? The crying, the sobbing, the intense hurt in their eyes while the tantrums go on and on... Eventually I get exhausted and want to give up; if I kiss them and send them on their way, everything will be over and forgotten. That's the moment when our resistances are fighting, arm-wrestling, to see who bends first. As an educator, how do I know if I'm fighting and bending their will... or their heart?

On another note, why bother this much? Why care to learn what fights to pick? Why struggle to discern what is my will and what's the Lord's will? I've been learning that those are the moments when God is bending and teaching me (heaven knows how much I need to have my will broken down).

A lot of thoughts and concepts run through my mind when I'm in one of those arm-wrestling situations. Positive and negative reinforcements, communication skills, personality traits and dispositions. Context, learning and attachment styles, character, establishing limits. Mercy, grace, justice, love. UFF! If this is so hard as a part-time educator, will I ever be able to have wisdom and discernment as a parent (if I get the privilege to be one)?

(inhale, exhale)

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." 
(Colossians 3:20-21)

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; 
instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." 
(Ephesians 6:4)

Breaking a child's will involves fighting good fights that will build their character when all the crying is over.
Breaking a child's heart is simply leading them to exasperation and discouragement.
Breaking a child's will is tiresome and exhausting insofar as a race, instead of a war.
Breaking a child's heart produces resentment and mistrust.
Breaking a child's will is training them to bend to the Lord and not to myself. Things are not done the way I would like to, but with humble, submissive loving hearts, as the Lord wants to.
Breaking a child's heart is sowing wounds that will yield crops of broken patterns of relating.

Breaking a child's will takes a lot of patience and waiting. But after the storm, the sweet promise of a heart build up for obedience comes true. And the best part is that all comes out of trust and consistency, instead of fear and manipulation.

The ultimate outcome is sheer love. 
Thank you Jesus.

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