Kids need clear boundaries, responsibilities, and sometimes even tough love. But it's not all they need.
I can be pretty tough on my kids. Yes ma'am, no sir, do your homework, make that bed, try that again please. Not that these things alone are overbearing; In fact, I find them downright necessary.
But really...I can be pretty tough on my kids.
I'm always thinking long-term with them. And sometimes in my quest to raise God-honoring, considerate, polite, well-behaved kids, I miss opportunities to show love and grace.
Today I saw in Proverbs 28 that a ruler who oppresses the ones under him (or HER) is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
A too-harsh ruler inhibits a harvest. WOW.
I want my kids to be fruit-bearers. I want their lives to be crazy-ripe with the stuff of God. My mind is consumed with working for a someday harvest when it comes to my children, because I really believe our lives are not for us but to bring glory to the Father.
But the one who comes too heavily against the ones in his (her) care is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
When I was in 5th grade I had to have a signed daily report of my work because I wasn't exactly the most disciplined student. My parents warned me that if I forgot my report, I would be spanked. Every day for months I had my report, but one day I forgot it at school.
I braced myself for my punishment, but my dad sat across from me and said, "There is no way I am going to punish you for forgetting the report today after months of doing the right thing. Be sure to bring it home tomorrow though. I love you."
The sweet surprise of mercy. Modeled beautifully for me.
My kids need direction--absolutely. But they need love. Lots of it. And they need grace in plenty. And they need these things from me because it models the grace and love of the Father.
And yours need it from you, too.