Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tough Love

How would you handle your teenager's pregnancy? Or your teenager dating someone of another nationaility? Or of the same sexual origin?

I remember the era of "tough love". Just some fancy way of saying "If your child messes up at all, kick them out. You can't allow them to remain in your house or it'll appear as if you condone the act." It never made sense as a teenager to hear this philosophy, and as a parent now, it seems even less intellegent. We are a christian home. I raise my boys with alot of morals. They might not take the trash out everytime without nudging, or keep their rooms spotless, but they have compassion for the crippled. They know who they are and don't allow society to dictate that to them. Some things are more important then others.

If one of my sons came home in a delima, I can honestly say the tough-love-kick-them-to-the-curb attitude would not meet them. I would do my best to support them, loving them with compassion through whatever mess they tumbled into. It would be then that my parenting skills would be put to the test. It is then that my child would realize what is truely important, who they are more so than what they do. My sons are my sons no matter what they do.

Somehow, as christian parents, we believe we have to attack the sin in our children by giving them the cold shoulder. I don't understand that since we mess up everyday ourselves. Would we like to live in a world where everytime we sinned, we got kicked to the curb? Next time you made a mistake at work, you'd hear "You're fired." Next time you mess up at home, your clothes would be thrown to the curb and your family would turn their back on you as if you were a disease. And you would hear "We do this because we love you." No. What you would want is love in spite of what you do.

So how do you handle it as a christian parent when your child messes up, or even goes against the way you've taught them? You love them. You let them know that you don't agree with their choices, but you still love them. You want your children to understand that when the chips are down, and they need you, they'll be able to approach parents that love in spite of the sin. We have that with our heavenly Father. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" means that we need forgiveness, too. It's simple but not easy. Don't make the issue bigger than the person. Now that's tough. Real tough love.