I was at the store the other day and my daughter started whining. She was ready to go home, but I still needed to pay for our groceries. I found myself reaching for my phone and handing it to her. I knew it would distract her and give me a few peaceful moments. When I got home I started to feel guilty. Was I raising my child to develop the fruit of the Spirit (love, peace, self-control, etc.) or was I avoiding being embarrassed of my crying child in public?
In today’s culture we are given messages that we can get what we want when we want it. Personally I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking she can get her way if she whines, cries or pouts. At this point my daughter has not given her life to Christ, as she doesn’t quite understand the concept at her age. I believe as parents we serve one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in our daughter. We can correct and convict just as the Holy Spirit corrects and guides us. So the next time I’m faced with the decision to quickly pacify my daughter to avoid embarrassment or teach her one of the fruits of the Spirit, I pray I make the harder choice.
When God gave us our daughter he entrusted a life into our hands. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) we should “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is a big task as a parent. As parents we can look to Jesus and our Heavenly Father to guide us in raising our children. God does not always give us what we want, but he always gives us what we need. This could mean discipline, pruning or blessings. Sometimes it’s easier to do the quick thing. You know, put my daughter’s toys away myself or sit her in front of the computer while I make dinner. But what is that teaching her? It’s not fun discipling her or teaching her to wait, but we believe it’s our job to shape her into a godly child. I know every parent and child is different. As a family you need to decide what is best for your child.
As for our family I want to start choosing the harder thing: allowing my child to whine in public so she can learn patience.
What about you? Is this something you struggle with as well? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
How can we develop fruit of the Spirit in kids?