Forgive and Forget
One time, a parent called me up and asked if I would meet with her son to reinforce some things that she and her husband were telling him. She knew that when I taught the kids at church, my team and I were teaching the kids the same things that the parents were teaching at home. When children hear from somebody other than Mom or Dad, all of the sudden they realize that maybe their parents are not as off as they thought.
So when this young man heard he was going to tell Brother Jim what he did, he told his mom, “I don’t want to go tell Brother Jim what I’m doing. Brother Jim thinks I am wonderful, and I don’t want him to know how I really am.” To which his mother replied,
“Too bad, I’ve already told Brother Jim how you really are.” This mom understood a principal that this young man was about to learn. After my kids make a mistake and repent, I don’t treat them any differently than before. This young man found out that just because he messed up, that did not mean I was going to treat him any differently. This empowers kids to repent because they know true forgiveness will follow.
One method to help you successfully treat your kids the same is to always to look for ways to point out to them what they have done right. Speak good things about your children. It begins with how you look at them. Start looking at your children not as half empty, but as half full. Yes, there are things that need fixing, but focus on the good by talking about it. Train yourself to look at them positively and speak out when you see the good, even when it is a normal everyday thing.
A few years ago, I was vacationing in California with my family and two girls, and I went into a popular retail store. This store had great clothes, but the people that worked there were the kind of folks that get a job based on how many tattoos and piercings they have. They looked like a canvas with drawings all over their bodies. When I walked out of the store, I handed each one of my girls a hundred-dollar bill. They kind of looked at me funny, so I said, “Thank you for not putting your Mom and I through what the employees in this store put their parents through.” I don’t know about you, but when you are looking at somebody that is sixteen to eighteen years old and has 27 tattoos and 400 earrings, and that is just in their nose, it makes me want to give my children a love offering.
Catch your children doing something right and brag on them. We are so quick to tell our kids what they did wrong, but let’s start telling them what they are doing right. Let’s reward them for good behavior. My model of this is my Father God. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. He will correct us, but He will also reward us when we do things right. We need to be the same way with our kids.
Finally, when our kids make a mistake, don’t bring up that mistake again. Let go and don’t talk about it. If they truly ask for repentance and for the Lord to forgive them, the Lord is not going to bring it up again, so why should we as parents? They still must walk out their repentance and earn our respect again, but we don’t talk about that failure. We focus on the good and talk about it all the time.
Ten Steps to Dealing with your Children’s Mistakes
1. Confront them face-to-face.
2. Correct and explain what they did wrong.
3. Allow your kids to ask forgiveness and repent.
4. Let the punishment fit the crime.
5. Pray with them, and give them a hug.
6. Forgive them and give them a chance to make it right.
7. Don’t be overly critical while they work out their plan.
8. Don’t treat them differently after they mess up.
9. Look for ways to make them feel good about themselves.
10. Don’t bring up the mistake again.
Here’s a great place to give your self a test. Which of these do you need to work on?
It’s never to late to make right choices. It’s never to late to make corrections to your parenting skills. It’s always the right time to do right things in the parenting of your children.