OUT THE WINDOW, OR IN YOUR HEART
Yesterday I was talking to a dear friend of mine, and we were discussing our favorite subject: child training. We were talking about the fine balance between being stern and being friends with your children, and she mentioned that, in her family, the two never seemed to combine at all, and at one time her brother went out the window and ran away. To this day, he blames rules for why he left home.
Now, I know nothing of this young man’s parents, or his family, so I cannot say one thing about them. But it got me thinking: was it really rules that was the problem?
Everyone has standards. My standard for a sandwich is that it must have mayonnaise, and it cannot have mustard. Tomatoes are out, and cucumbers are in. And, it ought to have whole-wheat bread rather than dried white glue. Though my standards for a sandwich are not the same as someone elses, I still have standards.
In our lives, we have standards. The only difference is, that some people have much lower standards than others.
Since we have been on the road these past few weeks, we have been staying at church missions apartments, homes, motels, and missions houses. While staying in a home for a few weeks, I noticed the very high standards of cleanliness the host family has. They diligently washed every dish as it was dirtied, kept the washer and dryer going, and even folded and put the laundry away when it was clean! Though I didn’t do the white glove test, the corners of their rooms were visually clean, and the home had very little clutter. It was quite a refreshment to be there.
My pastor tells of the time when he and his wife and children were invited to stay in the home of a widower. “It ain’t much,” he said, “but I’d love to have y’all.” They should have clued them in, but they couldn’t have been prepared for what happened when they got to the man’s home. The coffeepot was a disgusting black, clutter was everywhere, and when you walked, it crunched! Later, they told us that when they went to go to bed, they had to moved a mound of laundry off the bed (clean laundry? Who knows?), and the roaches scattered!
This poor man obviously had a standard for cleanliness, but it certainly wasn’t up to my pastor’s standards!
In our home, we have rules. These rules are not the same as someone else’s, but they are rules just the same. My assertation is that it is not the rules that are the problem – everybody has rules, just rules of varying degrees. What happened, then? Why do people go out windows and run away? I believe it is the lack of a solid, loving relationship. Rules without a relationship always breeds rebellion.
It is vitally important that we develop close relationships to our children. We need to love them deeply, so much so that they truly know we love them! Never let down the standard, and never set aside a good rule that has stood your family for years, but increase the expressions of love to your children. They will listen to what you have to say if they know that you love them and you are looking for what is best for them.