I only play the piano because you want me to. I’d like to stop my lessons soon.
I’ve decided I’m not going out for the tennis team again. It takes too much of my time.
I wanna grow my hair long like all the other guys.
How do you behave when your child announces a decision they’ve made—that you don’t like? Any of these ring true . . .
We react, venting every first-impression emotion.
We ask WHY in a tone that says What in the world are you thinking?
We initiate all-out persuasion to “help” them see our view.
We make incredulous comments like: No way. Really?? You’re kidding, right?
Honesty is important. So is grace.
I won’t tell you how many lessons I’ve had about this.
As our child shares, it helps to go to God with our feelings – so we don’t go at – or away from – our child.
Recently, a friend described such an episode. As her son shared, she listened. Her demeanor was calm; internally surprise, sadness and disappointment churned.
“Wow, I’m so surprised. Are you sure?”
“Yeah, Momma, I just don’t wanna play baseball anymore.”
“But you’re so good at it.”
“Well… okay, son…”
As the days passed, she wrestled with her feelings and noticed that her son seemed extra quiet. Something wasn’t right. She hadn’t overreacted; she hadn’t tried to manipulate him. Yet, an impenetrable heaviness loomed between them….
“God, I’m disappointed and sad about his decision. It’s not what I want at all. I give my feelings to You. Comfort my heart. Heal my son if my reaction has hurt or confused him. Help me walk this out Your way.”
Later that day she told her son, “When you told me you didn’t want to play baseball, I was sad and disappointed – but not in you. I didn’t make that clear. I’ll miss watching you play because you are so good at it. I want you to know I love you so much – and nothing will ever change that.”
Love penetrated the heaviness.
He smiled. They hugged.
When our child reveals a decision, she watches (or listens if we’re on the phone). On the outside, she wants to know our opinion about her decision; on the inside, she wants to know how we feel about her: “Do you still love me just as much?”
God loves us in the midst of our many decisions. Our first response should be love – His love through us. His love creates the bridge for conversation and growth.
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