|Veruca Salt – not getting what she wants. (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory)|
No one wants a spoiled child. Our vision of spoiled is a “Veruca Salt”, (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – a spoiled, overindulged girl, that gets everything that she wants…and screams until she gets it. But, that overplayed, Hollywood-enhanced vision of spoiled, doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter. Let’s take a deeper look…
a. To impair the value or quality of.
b. To damage irreparably; ruin.
2. To impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of; flaw grievously: spoiled the party.
3. To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise.
The first thing I want to take from this definition is that “spoiled” is not limited to the screaming child that always gets what they want (though, it definitely includes them!). No, spoiled is when we, as parents, do something that ruins the quality of, the completeness of, or flaws our children grievously.
I believe we all, as parents, want to do the right thing, we just need help, advice and role-models. Maybe you have been raised in a home that was abusive; physically, mentally…whatever. I understand that it is hard to break those cycles. We all have things we have to “unlearn” to become the parents we want to be.
in seemingly harmless ways.
This scripture is going to be my mantra throughout this series, because parenting is so filled with the “little” things that can spoil (or ruin) our children. Harmless things that can cause great harm in their tender little hearts. This is the first principle that we are going to build everything on.
Now, so we are all on the same page. We can’t blame our circumstances any more. No one can control the circumstances in which we raise our family, but we do have something we can do about them…
PARENTING THE HEART…NOT CONTROLLING THE CIRCUMSTANCES:
One of my favorite parenting books is “Parenting a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. In the book, it talks about how the child experiences SHAPING INFLUENCES (circumstances that happen TO them), yet they also have a GODWARD INFLUENCE (a heart that leans toward God). That is why, you can have two children raised in a home with many of the same influences and one turns out to be responsible, loving, & kind and the other can never seem to get their act together.
I really believe that one of my greatest jobs as a parent is not to focus so much on the outside “shaping influences” (because they are, many times, out of our control), but instead teach them to see these shaping influences through a heart that has a God-ward leaning.
For example, your child has a troublesome teacher – maybe they are disagreeable or hard to get along with. You can’t always correct every burdensome situation for your child. If there is nothing you can do, it is the best thing for your child, to go through that hard situation WITH your child, helping them learn how to deal with difficult people with your guidance. You standing with them praying for them, sharing scriptures like these and many others:
- Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
- Matthew 7:12 – Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
- Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Remembering that these things are hard for our flesh…the only way we can do these things is through God’s strength and presence. And in this way, you are continually pointing your child back to God.
I think this will help us all, to not worry ourselves about the myriad of “shaping influences” that are out of our control. There are so many things that we would like to be able to give or do for our children. We would like to give them every benefit we can…and as life goes on and as problems come…we begin to feel like failures because we can’t give them the life we envisioned. But, what I want you to know is this, no matter what circumstance a child is born into – God can transform your child’s life. The most important thing you can do for your child is to continually point them back to God.
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