Parenting in the Grey Areas

Our 3 year old has recently started using the declarative instead of the interrogative mood. For those not willing to google my use of big words: he has started making statements rather than asking questions.

The tone of his statements are mostly quite sweet, and so this subtle behavior can easily go unnoticed. When a child loudly declares his desire in a fit of rage we generally recognize as parents that we don’t give in to the demand of terrorists toddlers. But we do them a disservice by gratifying their more innocuous declarations too, and here’s why…

Our Sovereign Tendency

Each of us, in our fallen state, desires to have our own desires reign supreme. We declare, “My will be done” in the garden, and thus believe the lie of the snake rather than the word of our loving Father. This is why community, marriage, parenting… anything that puts us into daily situations to serve someone else are good for us. They teach us to die to ourselves and live for others. But I digress…

The reason we do not entertain the declarative statement in our home is not because we want to rule but we want to train our sons in their future vocation: ruling. We don’t want them to rule as a Gentile but as a Christian, one who rules like their Servant King, washing feet, kissing lepers, and dying on a tree.

If our son wants something, we require a polite question. At first, we corrected him by telling him to “ask politely,” but more and more we simply do not respond to a sideways statement as if it were the question it should be. The opposite situation is also true: we do not allow defiant “yes” or “no” responses to our statements. If we ask a question, yes or no all day long. If we make a statement we require obedience (often times the command has an explanation attached).

This all brings me to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Serpentine Authority vs. Servant King Authority

Our sons will be husbands some day and they must know that leadership at home is practiced in dying not dominance. Whether in the kitchen, the marriage bed, or in the pew, I am training my sons now to die to self in order that they might live for the good of another.

Dinnertime isn’t all about serving a hard working husband. Get up and wash the dishes, load the dishwasher, and thank your bride for her loving meal.

Sex isn’t about dominance but is for the good of the other. Getting yours is never the goal.

The black and white, clearly right and clearly wrong areas of parenting are easy to diagnose, and even these are not always easy to correct! But the grey areas of parenting, the subtle dominance of an emerging, independent will must be discerned and corrected. Not because my sons are wicked little scheming sinners. I desire that my sons be loving and sacrificial husbands one day, dying to the Million Shades of Self-Centered Desires in their hearts and minds, and living for the glory of Another for the good of another.