I would like to follow this post up with a report and some new thoughts.
I modeled the technique mentioned in the initial post to my oldest son, Garett, offering to take his punishment for him. He had lost the use of an Ipod Touch for video games. I explained what I was doing and how it was similar to Jesus taking our place.
He nodded and ran off to play his games. I wondered if the lesson took root.
Several months later I found myself giving my youngest son, Thabo, consequences for a choice he made. Garett, pipes up, offering to take the punishment for his brother.
He said it makes him sad for his brother to miss out and he wants to take his place. He tells me this is what Jesus did for him.
He got it!
After my internal victory dance, (emphasis on the internal), I realized I had a dilemma.
I did not want his brother to get off. Sure, I wanted him to learn the grace of God as well, but the lesson at hand was actions have consequences.
As I explained this to Garett, he began weeping! “It’s so sad that he misses out,” he exclaimed.
What a beautiful picture of the gospel. When we sin, we miss out on all the good that God has for us. He is wanting to take our place and pay for the sins. All we need to do is let Him. My son, through the modeling of grace, is learning about Christ’s sacrifice.
Don’t worry. I will be teaching my youngest about the grace of God. As a father, I have to decide what truth is the appropriate one in the moment. Grace in the moment to my son was teaching him choices matter. This will be grace to serve him the rest of his life.
But, I cannot wait to take a punishment for my son and demonstrate God’s grace.
Kids are smarter than we think. More goes in than we realize.
Garett got the lesson on grace and he knows that Jesus did this for him.
As in the first post, I am not advocating that grace is the only tool we use to train our children; but make sure it is one of the most readily available.
The world will do a fine job of showing them ungrace, I want to model grace.