I came into the room and saw her immediately. Our youngest daughter Sophia was hiding. She knew she was busted. Guilty. The comical part for me was how she tried to hide. There she was, sitting in the middle of her brother’s room with a blanket draped over her. I guess in her young mind, she figured she was safe. If she couldn’t see me then maybe I could see her!
She did what most of us do when we know we’ve blown it – go into hiding!
It reminds me of one of the very first stories in the Bible – the story of the very first fall. In so many ways, Adam and Eve’s story is ours isn’t it? They too broke not only a rule, but also relationship with their Father. They chose to do what their loving Father told them not to do. And their response to their sin was not running back to their Father, but running away.
The Bible says they tried to fix things on their own (Genesis 3:7). In an effort to make it right, they took the solution into their own hands. Then they hid (Genesis 3:8). They assumed running from God’s love was a better solution than running to His love.
Like our own kids, I suppose there were lots of things that went through their heads. They obviously didn’t think it was safe, or possible, to be loved in their badness. So they chose running and trying to fix it on their own.
This is a tough one as a parent. We are called to care for and nurture our kids. We’re also called to instruct them and discipline them when necessary. If we’re not careful though, we can teach our kids that we only love them when they are being good.
Whether we mean to or not, we can communicate to them that they are not lovable in their badness.
The danger of course is that we are teaching our kids to perform. We are teaching them that they have to be good in order to feel accepted. By our actions or attitude, we can lead them to believe it’s better to fix their own sin, cover it up, or hide than it is to run to our love.
Our kids need to know God’s love – a love that is so strong that even in their badness they know they belong. This is the message of the gospel. God didn’t wait for us to clean up our act before he loved us. Our kids need to know that even when they fail, they still have our favor. They are loved because of who they are not because of what they do.
We need to communicate to our kids that we love them – no matter what! Even when there our consequences and discipline for their actions, let them know you love them. Hold them. Remind them of Jesus’ love. Help them to see it’s ok to come to you. Teach them and instruct them. Whatever you do, even when they fail, don’t let them doubt your love!
Another important area for our kids to remember they are loved no matter how they perform is in their every day life outside of the home. This can be tricky to help your kids through as a parent. A brand new resource to read with your children to bring light to this topic, is Win or Lose, I Love You! by Lysa TerKeurst.
Competition can bring out the worst in us, but it can also be an opportunity to learn impactful life lessons. That’s why it’s so important for kids to understand how to handle winning and losing!
Just like Lulu and Max help the animals navigate the ups and downs of the day, with Win or Lose, I Love You parents will be equipped to help children:
- Replace the selfish characteristics of competition with an understanding of how to treat others fairly
- Overcome the tendency to display poor sportsmanship by using Biblical truths to develop a Christ-like attitude
- Reject the labels of winning and losing and embrace that they are loved no matter how they perform.