My daughter wanted her jacket out of the closet to go out in the cold and play. After several unsuccessful attempts to reach it, she decided to ask me for help. But like many three-year-olds, the way she asked me was more of a yell than an ask.
After several seconds of her yelling, I walked toward her with the intention of telling her to not speak to me that way. As I approached, a thought interrupted me, “How would you ask if you knew I would say yes?”
Because of that thought, I knelt down in front of her and asked her that very question. She looked up for a moment as she thought about it, then replied, “Please?”
I grabbed her her jacket, put it on her, then threw mine on so I could join her outside. We had such a great time playing that day. As we were playing, I thought about what just took place. God just parented me so that I could parent my daughter like He would.
From that time on, I’ve trusted Him to step in at those moments in order for me to become the parent He’s designed me to be.
There are far too many parents who live with the philosophy of “Follow what I say, not what I do,” and we all know this doesn’t work well. It kills trust in our children. They see us talk one way but live another. I heard someone say one time, “Children are really bad at doing what we tell them, but really great at doing what we show them”.
We must realize that all of us are continually teaching our children whether we are using words or not. And one of the greatest things we teach them is who God is like.
I have several friends who are counselors, who spend most of their time with clients talking through things that happened when they were a child.
As a children’s pastor and parent, one of the burning desires of my heart is to see a generation of children grow up who don’t need a lifetime of counseling from what their families have done to them. I believe the story I told at the beginning of this post is one of the keys to seeing this.
God wants to help us parent.
God wants us to parent our children like He parents us. We’ve all had dysfunctions in our families growing up, but we don’t have to perpetuate them with our kids. We don’t have to allow our past to become our present. We have a Father who is more than willing to help us.
When God asked me that question, He didn’t just change that one interaction with my daughter, He changed my entire relationship with Him. Now I ask myself, “How would I pray if I knew God’s answer would be yes?”
For all the parents reading this, I’d ask you to ask yourself the same question. All His promises are yes and amen in Christ. This question will bring so much trust into your relationship with God, it can’t help but bear fruit as a relationship full of trust with your own children.
So, how would you pray if you knew He would say yes?