The level in the candy jar in the pantry was definitely going down.
No! I didn’t have a thing to do with it . . . not this time, anyway!
For once it was Lisa!
“So, Honey, I see your sweet tooth has been acting up lately,” I smiled (accused).
“Excuse me? Don’t think I haven’t noticed you’ve been chowing down on the candy. That jar has been getting emptier by the day and I haven’t had one piece, so nice try!”
She thought she had me (like so many times before) but not this time. I was innocent!
It was a creaky old house but, seriously, how much candy can mice eat in a few days? No, it must be those other five mice, the ones with the last name ‘Jacobson’. Surely they’ll be honest, the little thieves. The truth will ooze from the pores of the remorseful culprit.
Oldest to youngest, one-by-one we paraded them before the evidence.
“Did you snitch the candy?”
Child #1: No.
Child #2: No.
. . . and so on through the entire crew until we got to the five-year-old tutu queen with the big, sweet, honest eyes.
“No, I pwaumiss. It was not me. I did not take the candy. I would never do that. That’s bad,” she said, reaching up to give me a big hug before going back to her dolls.
Some kids can lie pretty well . . . and then there are the professionals. So who was it?
Just when the little felon had us beat, an older child tipped us off to an interesting discovery underneath a bed – Willie Wonka’s private hoard – the mother lode.
The fact that Little Snuggle-Cheeks could beat a lie-detector test at age five was really disturbing to a couple of parents trying to raise kids to be upstanding, moral citizens.
With a child destined for the penitentiary, we thought were failing badly. What were we missing? Even the 10 Commandments didn’t help . . . remember #8, #9, & #10 . . . don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet. We taught her all those.
Where had we gone wrong?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and in the end, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 . . . and in the end . . . As parents, we forget that sometimes.
Our child does something openly sinful, and we’re shocked… like there has been a flash flood in the Sahara Desert.
Faithful, successful parenting is the result of consistency over time. The harvest of a life well formed comes at the end of the process of spiritual discipleship, nurturing, discipline, and love.
Why do our cute little kids quote Bible verses and then turn around and do something downright sinful? Because they are sinners!
Don’t be shocked, disappointed or embarrassed, when kids do what comes naturally – we should only be surprised if they don’t do what comes naturally: sin!!
1) It’s not acceptable, but it is normal for sinners to sin.
2) Don’t be surprised by setbacks. Training takes time.
3) A wrong choice doesn’t define a life direction.
4) Think of all the wonderful things your children have done. Don’t forget to praise them in those wonderful moments.
Dad and Mom, don’t be so hard on yourself. Chances are you’re doing a much better job than you think you are.
God is faithful to His Word. Be faithful in discipleship – consistency over time – and God will bless your faithfulness.
Matthew L. Jacobson
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