What is it about kids that give them perfect insight to 100 ways to embarrass us?
“Do you like Macklemore?” I heard his ever-deepening voice coming from the other room. It carries so easily now.
“Who?” She said.
“Macklemore. He’s a rapper.” I’m sure she didn’t quite know how to respond by the way she replied, “No. I don’t like rap.”
I glanced at the other mom standing next to me, who was poring over language arts curriculum and laughed nervously. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe he’s asking her that.” She smiled. It was pretty obvious she hadn’t heard of the guy either.
It used to be a lot worse for me.
Just a few years ago I would have quickly run to the other room and shushed my son, feebly attempted to divert the conversation elsewhere, and prayed the curriculum store owner didn’t jump to some pretty nasty conclusions about me.
This was still my first instinct.
I wanted him to be QUIET. NOW. But I didn’t intervene. My 12-year-old son doesn’t really understand that Macklemore isn’t appropriate music. He only knows that what little I do allow my boys to listen to are the “clean” versions of his songs. And those aren’t totally clean. Definitely not Christian.
Does this make me a bad parent?
Would you judge me if you saw my 11-year-old jamming out to LMFAO? I would and I have done that many times, much to my shame.
Judge me. Judge me not.
Shame isn’t what freedom in Christ is about. Shame isn’t what parenting is about. We should neither feel ashamed nor cast it on someone else.
A lot has changed since we left the church we called home for 17 years.
The outer shell—the one we all wore that made us a ‘presentable’ Christian family—has been shed. We aren’t perfect. I really try not to expect a perfect appearance from my kids anymore. Perfection on the outside doesn’t equal internal righteousness.
We learned that the hard way with one of our kids. I never want to walk that road again. I want my kids to be transparent and honest about who they are.
Do I expect them to use good judgment, live within our family rules, and be considerate of others? You bet I do.
Do I expect them to extend God’s grace to others who may not seem to have it as ‘together’ as they do? Of course.
Do I expect them to seek Christ and grow in their relationships with him? Oh yes. I also expect them to speak up when they question something or are dealing with a contradiction or conflict regarding their faith, which I never permitted with the older kids. I made them follow unquestionably.
And what kind of faith does that produce?
A ‘faith’ made of external masks and internal conflict.
I love my kids so much. I want each of them to seek the Lord’s best for their lives. I want them to know what it is to live a life in Christ and to not be so separated from the real world that they are shocked to inaction when they encounter it. I’ve seen that so many times before, especially in homeschooling circles. We don’t do our kids any favors by keeping them inside bubbles.
As my faith has grown and changed, my independence of the opinions of others has too.
As our family serves homeless, dirty, smelly, sometimes extremely intoxicated men and women downtown, I gain an appreciation for Christ’s stance that all deserve grace. My children should receive the same grace from me that we extend to the very least of society.
This post is linked up to Pour Your Heart Out