What is a responsible parent to do? Well… if my son was much younger or incapable of brushing his teeth, then of course I would take back the responsibility and do it myself. But alas that is not the root issue, is it? Rather this is an issue of personal responsibility and maybe even something more.
Assuming the best and offering the “benefit of the doubt”, I spoke to my son with unusual mercy, “I know it is hard to remember, but when I do remind you, you need to follow through.” With piercingly honest eyes, he replies, “Mom, actually, I have been kind of blowing off what you say when you remind me. I don’t stop and do it then. I just say ‘Yes, mam’ and don’t really do it. (Sound like a familiar parable?) I didn’t want you to think it was because I didn’t remember; I really need to do better at listening to what you say. I’m sorry mom, will you forgive me? I want to really make a change, this time.”
Well now!!! While I sure didn’t like the way he response began (although the honesty rang to the center of my own soul concerning areas of negligence or mere lip service), he did take personal responsibility for the dental neglect. Then another step beyond that (a sanctified step that our family has adopted) he sought forgiveness for “blowing off” my instructions.We spent some “heart time” in the familiar parable, empty words for appearance sake, and obedience.
Lord, I need your wisdom and balance, to not incubate immaturity but rather mentor my children toward maturity…thank you for allowing me to see glimpses of your greater work in each of my children’s hearts.