Using Wisdom with Children

A few weeks ago in a post on parenting, Liam asked me elaborate on one particular comment.  I decided to elaborate in a new post.  I mentioned in the post that one of the things that I have learned as a parent is this:

I wish that I had not made such a big deal over some things that really were not that important.

It is very easy as a parent to simply react.  (Or at least it was very easy for me.)  Something happens that is unpleasant or unwanted and a parent can very easily get upset.  Yet some things are just not worth getting upset about.  Some things need to be dealt with but are not worthy of the emotional energy that some of us may give to them.  Charlotte helped me with this one over the years.  She would remind me that in the larger scheme of things, some things are not worth getting the anger we give to them.

Children will be immature and irresponsible.  That may be quite different from being rebellious or defiant.   

That doesn’t mean that immature or irresponsible behavior is ignored.  In fact, quite often there are consequences that need to go along with certain behaviors.  Ideally, the consequence ought to be logical or natural so that a child can see the connection between what she did and the consequence.

As long as you have children in your house, there will be interesting moments.  That is not necessarily bad or good.  It is just a part of growing up.  I remember:

  • Hearing the sound of footsteps on our roof only to see that our daughter and her friends were on the roof of our house.
  • Coming home to a house full of smoke after popcorn was scorched in the microwave.
  • Dealing with interesting things happening to their cars.
  • Watching how they were spending their money on clothes, etc.

If I were to add things from my own childhood, my parents might include:

  • Burning all kinds of food in our kitchen.
  • Putting a major dent in my dad’s car door when I backed out of the garage.
  • Hitting a golf ball through my mother’s kitchen window.
  • Throwing a baseball through my sister’s bedroom window.

On and on my list could go.  A parent has to have the wisdom to know what things are major and what things are minor.  As I recall, my parents did not get that upset about those broken windows.  My dad came to me and told me how much each one cost and that I had to pay for them.  That is a natural consequence.

Looking back, I wish that I had not gotten as upset about some things as I did.  Our children had a certain amount of money which they spent to purchase their clothes each fall.  I remember getting upset once as I heard about how much one spent on a pair of jeans.  Charlotte said, "OK, I think it is too much as well.  But let her realize that now she has spent so much money on jeans that she doesn’t have very much money to buy anything else."  Very good.  That is a natural consequence.

Occasionally, Charlotte would remind me that our children love the Lord, they are not partying, in jail, doing drugs, etc.  She reminded me that we have to keep these things in perspective.  She was right.

Bottom line?  Parents need to pray for wisdom.  Those of us whose children are grown need to pray for other parents to have wisdom.  After all, being a parent is not easy work.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Using Wisdom with Children

  1. Thanks for the elaboration Jim, Your point makes a lot of sense and I think maybe has something to teach us about all our relationships as well as the ones with our children.

  2. Dad! This post made me real homesick for yall! I know that all your examples were about me!!!!!!!! HA! I remember the exact moments or incidents when those things happened with me. Example: Buckle Jeans, Ruining like 3 brakes, Anna and I eating pepperonis on the roof, and Christy and I with the popcorn! Those are all good memories for me! SOrry I havent been able to email…outlook doesnt work in NZ apparently. I leave for Cairns, Austrailia tomarrow and will probably get to email yall! LOVE U!

  3. Dave’s three rules for evaluating your children:
    1) Are they passing school?2) Are they staying clean (from drugs)?3) Are they coming to church?The blog paragraph near the end hints at two of these, but I like to formalize them like this.Everyone struggles with their kids. I have many stories too long to type here. There have been times when my son failed all three questions. Those were hard days, but we got through them. I have had to quote my rules to parents with Eagle scouts who are winning citizenship awards both at church and school.I guess my point is similar to yours Jim: the importance of, and reaction to, our children’s behavior is related to each individual parent’s perspective. Frustration is natural. But we owe it to them to keep the Big Picture in mind.

  4. I do believe that the hardest and most rewarding job a parent will ever have is raising their children.
    I recently attended a seminar at my work where the presenter tells parents if they are not dead, there is no blood and someone is not being hurt then it really may NOT be that big of a deal.
    Maturity and patience also come along with the grandchildren and you then realize alot of things you thought were big deals really were not at all.

  5. Thank you for this.  I have to remember that some stuff is just kids being kids and not an indicator of a major character flaw or potential future personality disorder :-).  As a Mom I need to be reminded to just chillax as my 6th grader would say.

  6. I am a ACU student studying to be a youth minister. Since I dont really have kids and know nothing about parenting I started working with a youth group here in town. My education in and outside the classroom has taught me many things. Here are some of the things I feel to be most important.

    1. Being a parent/spouse is the most important ministry you can ever have.
    2. Your child is watching what you are doing. If you want them to follow Christ…lead.
    3. Never stop telling your child how much you love and care for them…then prove it everyday.
    4. Teenagers want your input desperately, they just dont know how to ask.
    5. Talk, play, just doing something with that allows for them to express themselves to you. It will mean the world to them.

  7. Jamie,So good to hear from you!  All of those examples were of you?  Oh my!  :)We miss you and look forward to hearing from you again.Love you,Dad 

  8. Yes, sometimes we get upset. I find it helpful to ask myself why. Am I just tired, hungry, stressed? I can easily take care of these issues if I pay attention. Or am I acting on some deeper issues that haunt me from the past? These are harder to make changes over, but it seems important to know. To know why I’m getting upset.