While I was traveling last week, I had several occasions to talk about child rearing, family relationships and in general talk about healthy interpersonal relationships. It’s fun to attempt to distill true principles into very simple and basic pieces and see how the really best family consulting is simple and crosses and intersects different cultures with powerful application and meaning.
A few years ago, I discovered in a book about family life two super questions that all of us are asking all the time, especially our children:
1. Do Mom and Dad (or guardians) really love me and accept me unconditionally?
2. Can I always get my own way (do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want, etc.)?
Think about those two questions. In our relationship with God, we adults are also asking these questions all the time, even though we may not be aware of it. Think about it for awhile.
When I shared the answer to these two questions with a variety of different people, they were astounded by the simplicity and usefulness of just two basic questions that addressed the foundation of their and their kids’ lives and being. I wish I got that kind of response all the time!
The answer to the first question should be YES, MOST DEFINITELY!
The answer to the second question should be NO, MOST DEFINITELY NOT!
As parents, we have to guide and train our children. We do well to remember that as we guide and train, our kids are asking these two questions. Now, helping our children understand that the reason we will not let them just go their own way and do whatever they want all the time is precisely because we do love them so much, won’t be easy. That’s where the parenting gets a little challenging, doesn’t it? I suggest that if we keep these questions in mind as we observe our children’s lives, words and behavior, we will be better able to help them succeed in all the essential ways. It won’t be super easy, but it might help us understand them better and guide them more intentionally.
At the same time, if you are a believer and follower in Jesus, in your own relationship with God, try to analyze your own response to life’s challenges by applying these two questions to your situation. When we face difficulties, we begin to question God’s unconditional love for His family members, thinking that He should give us whatever we want and do whatever we want all the time (which is impossible anyway, but I digress!)
Try it for a few weeks or months and see. Use the comments to let me know how it’s going.
Two simple questions to help us better understand ourselves and our kids:
1. Am I really and truly loved?
2. Can I get my own way all the time?