Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 31, 2014

Was that really nice?

I am the father of 6 children, ages 3 – 19.   There is a lot of personal interaction in our house, as you might imagine.  I can’t count how many times in the last month I have asked someone, “Now think about what you just said/did.  Was that really nice?”

I’m not going to back away from that at all.  I insist on treating one another with courtesy and respect.  I believe that is a biblical concept.

However, in light of these verses, I have been wondering if I am conditioning my family, and even myself to be shallow and hypocritical with others.

Col 3:8-10
(8) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
(9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
(10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Now that I have you thoroughly confused. . . 🙂

I am thinking of verse 9.  How many times do we say the “nice” thing and avoid the truth?  How many times do I send a grumpy little girl across the room to her sister with this instruction, “Now that wasn’t nice.  You tell  your sister you are sorry.”  So to avoid consequences with me, they grumble “sorry” and stomp off.  Anyone can see that they aren’t sorry.  Am I teaching them to lie to one another, because it is the “nice” thing to do?

So I posed this question in a text to several friends and family the other day:

“Have been thinking about verse 9.  When we love one another, we do not lie to each other.  Sometimes we think it is being nice to someone to not work things out, but really we have just defined how deep the friendship is.  Just my pondering.  What do you think?”

I got this response from my Dad:

“Relationships are built on TRUTH.  Christ is TRUTH.  If we don’t speak truth to one another, we can’t trust or be trusted.”

So does this mean I just have to sit back and watch rudeness in my children for the sake of honesty?   I think not.  I think the secret lies in being committed to each other through the truth, and learning to communicate toward a resolution.  We need to learn to express love and commitment, while at the same time communicating the unpleasant things that need to be said.

I have to learn this attitude myself in order to model it, and then teach it to my children.

Your thoughts?

The Simple Guy

P.S.

This might not be a new thought to some of you.  Have you learned anything in this area that you think might be helpful?

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Responses

  1. Wow, 6 children!!! I got saved and married late in life. We had our first child at 40 and second at 42. It was too late in life to have more children, but both of us would have liked to have had more.

    My thoughts–which may be wrong thoughts, I don’t know, I find that I’m always in father school–is that I try to pick my battles, when I can. I watch my children and look for bad habits or other needs for correction. But I also think that children, and grownups to for that matter, are somewhat like doors. Sometimes they are open, and sometimes they are closed. When they are closed I can talk for 15 minutes and it’s like speaking to a wall. But when the door is open I can see them grasp concepts almost instantly. Since the truth about ourselves can sometimes hurt, I’m not sure I want to be too brutally honest too often if I don’t have to be. (not saying here that this is what you are suggesting or doing, just thinking out loud)

    Of course the “open-door” times are generally the exception. Otherwise I find myself praying that my instruction, and God’s Word/Truth, will find their way into my children’s hearts, and even if there is no evidence right then, that it would produce fruit at some point. Some days I’m encouraged, some days I’m discouraged.

    I’m with you in that I have to make sure I’m living what I teach. Early on I found that I was holding my son to a higher standard than I was living myself. I’ve been trying to ask myself, when I see him doing something wrong, do I do that myself? If I do, I ask, what could someone say to me, and how could they say it, that would make a difference to me? This does two things. It motivates me to not be slipshod in my own life before my children, and it helps me to understand them, and what their own struggles are. They have heard me say often that the most difficult battles they will face in life is the one they will encounter with their own flesh. The older they get the more I hope to transition from trainer to fellow soldier in that battle.

    • Danny, im glad you stopped by. I appreciate that brutal honesty can do more harm than good. But sometimes I am afraid i just silence the noise and dont guide them through the issue. My focus tends to be more toward peace and quiet instead of training toward character.
      Also totally agree with the “open door” idea. Just wish I was better at recognizing the closed door sooner and maybe even learn to knock and get them to open it.
      Thanks for the input fromm a fellow father in training.

  2. “Actions speak louder than words” is a powerful truth.
    Children certainly have their own personalities, but most definitely will mimic behaviors and attitudes which their parents model.

    The default for fallen human nature is selfishness and sin. If parents are disinterested, disrespectful, impatient, irritable etc. it should be no surprise to see the same things reflected back toward the parents or in the interaction between children . It takes a consistent, conscious effort to provide a Christ-honoring example but I fear we sometimes assume life can run on autopilot until there is an unavoidable wreck. Panicked over-correction generally make the situation worse.

    The battle for the souls of one’s children is serious business. Ironically, the eternal results are ultimately in God’s hands, yet we each will be held accountable for our own efforts (or lack thereof). That realization alone probably ought to keep us on our knees in prayer. Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, here, but can almost always guarantee a spectacular parental failure when I do not maintain a proper attitude toward God 😦


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