Last week I posted about some videos I watched about maturity in children. You might want to read Part 1 first here. I talked about what maturity looks like in children and the characteristics of different stages of maturity. But I wanted to look at a few more examples of maturity that we see in the Bible and more about using discernment in choosing which resources you should choose to use as a parent.
Deciding Whether or Not to Use a Particular Resource
When I first saw these videos, I could see that Dr Paul has dozens of videos up on YouTube. Many that I am not interested in, so I don’t plan to watch all his videos. So when I watched two of his videos, I didn’t know whether his own beliefs line up with my core values for my family. But, as long as I don’t find something in each video that I do use that goes directly against scripture, I’ll feel free to use it with my kids.
Just because something sounds good, and uses words like “positivity” doesn’t mean that it will translate into a biblical worldview. In fact, when I hear the word “positivity” I hear alarm bells. I associate it with self help and speakers who preach that if you can only try harder, you can be happy by sheer force of will. My joy has to come from the Lord- not from me getting better at parenting. The important step for me is always hold up the Bible like a magnifying glass against the resource I want to use.
Maturity in the Bible
One example of maturity that I wanted to be sure to point out from the Bible is in 1 Samuel 15. God sent Samuel to instruct Saul to destroy a certain town. Saul doesn’t obey, instead he keeps plunder for himself and spares the life of the king. Then when Samuel questions his choices, he makes excuses. As a result God takes away control of the kingdom.
Can you be trusted to make stage three decisions in your spiritual life?
This really hit home for me as I was thinking through sharing this with my kids. The responsibility of parenting them is about more than just getting through each day. I have a greater responsibility to measure my actions against God’s instructions in the Bible, and against the still quiet voice of his leading.
This is a chance for me to rise to the occasion. As much as I am hoping that my kids will start to see chances to prove themselves mature for me, God is hoping to see that same thing in me. He longs for me to come to him and say ‘Lord what should I do?’ and then obey him completely. When my kids ask me for my opinion, that’s just what it is- an opinion. But when I go to my Father and ask for guidance I can be sure that I am receiving the most perfect instruction possible.
How is This Approach Helping My Family?
I LOVED talking to my kids about this. It made them feel so important to be included in this kind of knowledge. I have had several chances to take away control because one of my kids was having a hard day. But it felt so much better that I was not just punishing them but protecting them while they develop.
One of my girls sometimes struggles in school because she feels overwhelmed by an assignment. In the moment when she was struggling I took some control away and told her why. But later on I sat down with her when she was feeling calm, and outlined what each stage would look like in school.
Stage one– she refuses to work. she just sits and doesn’t start her school assignment, when I say ‘please get started on this,’ she refuses.
Stage two– when she is working and I see that she is stuck, I will say ‘it looks like your brain needs a break from this- why don’t you do something else and come back to it.’ If she obeys she is making a stage two choice. If she doesn’t obey, she has moved back to stage one. This is a big thing for her. She often needs to look at something else and come back to a difficult assignment, but its hard for her to make that choice herself.
Stage three– the stage three choice would be for her to either decide herself to take a break OR to come and ask me to help her break it down into manageable chunks.
The best thing about this is that she knows exactly what will happen for each decision. I asked her to make a plan in her mind ahead of time, so that she won’t have to decide what to do if she is feeling emotional. But I also made it clear that its okay to have bad days.
I don’t expect my nine year old to be able to make stage three decisions very often. In fact, this has really made me think through my expectations of them. When I break something into the three stages I can see easily what is too high of an expectation. I can’t expect them to be small adults, they are growing and maturing everyday. I need to be expecting stage two for the most part and praising stage three like crazy!
While I was thinking about how I hope my kids will see this as a help (even though they will see it as a consequence when it is happening), I decided to make a quick printable you can use to help them get back on track. You can print this and post it somewhere easy (ours is inside our pantry door). That way it’s easy to remind them of why they are losing control privileges, and they can easily see how to get them back. There is one already filled out for you and a blank form if you’d rather fill in your own consequences! If you enjoy the printable please take a second and pin it or share it to Facebook.
Get the download here.