Road tripping journals #2
“I have the right to vote.”
“I have the right to go to any church I want.”
“I have the right not to wear masks.”
“I have the right to make you wear masks.”
“I have the right not to eat vegetables and to eat all the ice cream I want!”
Reading these statements, you probably don’t agree with every statement and you probably have your own opinions on each one. Don’t worry, this post is not about wearing masks or not wearing masks! As you can see from the last statement, this mindset of standing for our rights can lead to our children making statements like that. And some of you have probably heard things like that! Because kids are kids.
It’s good to have rights and freedom. But if we are not careful, we can get sucked into the cultural worldview of rights and freedom and be detracted from the biblical worldview.
What’s the difference?
The differences can be so subtle that we may not even realize it sometimes.
I’ve been teaching for 16 years and have dealt with many, many teenagers. Teachers have countless stories of the interesting excuses we get from students when they don’t do their work or when they don’t do well in a test. One thing we have noticed, and so has everyone else, is that these children have a sense of entitlement. Some adults feel entitled too.
When students don’t do well, sometimes parents call and ask the teachers or the school what we’re doing wrong. They feel that since they’re the ‘clients’, we should produce the results they want. So instead of working with the teachers and helping their child focus and develop good work ethics, they play the blame game. This carries over to the children. I’ve heard students blame everything else for their bad grades rather than take ownership for their grades and think about how they can do better next time.
We want to empower our children, make them feel strong and that they are able to take on anything in the world. But telling them they are special and strong doesn’t mean telling them they are perfect. We need to teach them to take responsibility for their mistakes too.
Here’s something that happened just today as we are roadtripping:
Our youngest left an iPad in the hotel room and we had checked out and were 10 minutes away when she realized that. We went through the hassle of calling the hotel and asking them to look for the iPad, then going back and getting the iPad.
At the end of it all, Daddy asked Anna, “Do you realize that it’s your fault? I want you to admit that it’s your fault.”
Some people will probably think, “Wow that’s harsh for him to say that!” But I know it’s an important lesson we want her to learn. Many times she has tried to come up with excuses or blame others for her mistakes. Please note that he also followed up by saying he doesn’t want her to feel bad, but he wants her to realize she’s made a mistake and to remember not to make it again, but to be responsible for what was entrusted to her.
I could have blamed myself for not checking the room or packing the iPad away for her, but she’s not going to grow if I take the blame for everything for her. This is what’s happening to this generation. I’ve heard parents apologize for their children’s mistakes. My reply is always the same, “It’s not your fault. They need to apologize, not you.” Do the parents make the children apologize? Not always.
We want our children to have a voice and to speak up for what they want. There are protests and riots all the time because people are speaking up for what they want.
Does that mean we should stay silent then?
I think our first stance should be that of humility, recognizing that we don’t know best and we are not always right. Before we stand up for what is right, we have to know if what we’re standing for is right.
What is right?
Our standard for what is right is the Bible, God’s Word. In a world where everything is subjective (culturally), only one thing is absolute and never changing – God’s Word.
We need to teach our children to love and to study God’s Word.
I mentioned humility. Jesus is the true example of servanthood. He epitomizes meekness and humility. He is the King of Kings, yet He says He came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45)
If we take this stance, we will willingly serve others without feeling like we’re being mistreated. Our selfish human nature tells us we want the best of everything, but Jesus teaches us sacrifice and to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Will we lose out if we give up what we want?
Here’s another story from our road trip!
We were at the second hotel of the trip and trying to figure out the bed situation. Our second son volunteered to take the pull out sofa bed so that his siblings can have their own bed and no one needs to share. I felt bad for him and asked repeatedly if that was what he really wanted. He insisted he was fine with that and the next day, told me the bed was so comfortable. (He shared a pull out sofa bed with his brother at the previous hotel and was not happy with that bed!) I think because he made that choice, it made it seem much better. (Also because he didn’t have to share a bed with his brother.)
My husband the preacher always says a giver is a joyful soul (my words). “Do you know someone who’s very giving? Does he always look sad or happy?” (his words)
If we can be more giving, less selfish, the world will be a nicer place.
Stand up for your rights, or give up your rights. What rights do we have?
I can give up my rights to a nice hotel bed and choose the sofa bed so someone else can have the bed.
I can give up my rights to eat at KFC so that my family can eat at McDonald’s, which they prefer.
I will not give up my right to be a Christian.
I will not give up my right to send my kids to a Christian school.
I will not give up my right to teach the Bible in a Christian school.
We want to empower our children, but let’s not raise them to be entitled, selfish beings!