Posted by MiltonVincent
“Pursue your [children]. Daily express your love. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Ask questions that require description, explanation, and self-disclosure. Don’t just relate to them during times of correction. Don’t only catch them doing something wrong; catch them doing something right and encourage them. Always find them in the house and say ‘goodnight’ to them before they go to bed. Enter the world of your [child] and stay there. Don’t let your [child] view you as being outside their functional world. Teenagers will reject grenades of wisdom and correction lobbed from afar by someone who has not been on site for while.” (Paul Tripp, Age of Opportunity, 80)
“Ask yourself, Do I respond to my [child] in ways that make wisdom appealing? Do I make the taste of correction sweet? I watch parents make correction bitter as they beat their children with demeaning words. Make wisdom attractive. Make correction something to be desired.
Win your children for wisdom. Be a salesman for it. You don’t do this with nasty, inflammatory confrontations and ugly verbal power struggles. No wisdom is imparted in these moments. If you hit your kids with a barrage of verbal bullets, they will either run for the bunker or come out firing themselves. . . . Remember, giving wisdom is not hitting your [child] over the head with words. It is putting a lovely garland around his neck.” (Paul Tripp, Age of Opportunity, 77-78)
“The concept of being wanted by a father was foreign to me. Growing up, I felt unwanted by my dad. My mother died giving birth to me, so maybe he saw me as a the cause of her death; I’m not sure.
I never carried on a meaningful conversation with my dad. In fact, the only affection I remember came when I was nine years old: He put his arm around me for about thirty seconds while we were on our way to my stepmother’s funeral. Besides that, the only other physical touch I experienced were the beatings I received when I disobeyed or bothered him.
My goal in our relationship was not to annoy my father. I would walk around the house trying not to upset him.
He died when I was twelve. I cried but also felt relief.
The impact of this relationship affected me for years, and I think a lot of those emotions transferred to my relationship with God. For example, I tried hard not to annoy God with my sin or upset Him with my little problems. I had no aspiration of being wanted by God; I was just happy not to be hated or hurt by Him.
Don’t get me wrong. Not everything about my dad was bad. I really do thank God for him, because he taught me discipline, respect, fear, and obedience. I also think he loved me. But I can’t sugarcoat how my relationship with him negatively affected my view of God for many years.
Thankfully, my relationship with God took a major turn when I became a father myself. After my oldest daughter was born, I began to see how wrong I was in my thinking about God. For the first time I got a taste of what I believe God feels toward us. I thought about my daughter often. I prayed for her while she slept at night. I showed her picture to anyone who would look. I wanted to give her the world.
Sometimes when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out to the driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car. As you can imagine, arriving home has become one of my favorite moments of the day.
My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing. Nothing compares to being truly, exuberantly wanted by your children.
Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! [Matthew 7:11] (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, 54-55).