Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Are You Real?

I have just finished reading Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby, and would definitely recommend it! It is an easy read with lots of practical information.

As the mother of a "tween" boy, one section really hit me in particular over the weekend. The author present two critical questions for parents to answer in each stage of their child's development. For tweens, these were "do you really love me?" and "are you real?"

Are you real? Most of us would say, of course, what a silly question. We think that we are "past" getting caught up in the opinions of others that characterizes adolescence, but are we? Don't we worry about having the "perfect house" to entertain or be known as a great cook. We can get caught up, even within the church, with trying being something we are not to gain approval--or not being willing to share struggles, because we want to seem as if we have it all together.

The author states:
If you're not authentic, your children will rebel in disrespect toward you and, often, toward society. Children respect parents who are respectable. If you expect from yourself that which you expect from your children, you'll all pass this test. Be the person you want your child to become. We teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are."

The author warns that children learn more from what we do than what we say. While instruction is key in a child's growth, we mustn't forget much of that instruction comes without reading a single line and saying anything. Much of what the disciples learned from Christ was through what they saw Him do, not say.

Some ways we can demonstrate our faith authentically to our children, according to the author:
  • Be the same on the inside as you appear on the outside.
  • Don't say one thing and do another.
  • Be honest in your dealings with others.
  • Don't show any hypocrisy.

So I ask again, are you real? Your child can probably tell you! May we seek to live out our faith before our children, struggles and all.