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Entries in children (2)

Tuesday
Feb212012

Kids Are Not Cattle 

Sunday
Jun212009

Learning how to handle power

God wants to share his power.  Aptly wielded, power brings transformation and healing to the world.  He has intended to share his power from the very beginning:


"Adam, you may name the great variety of animals on the earth." "Adam and Eve, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.".

"What!!...are you crazy, God!? Don't give them that invitation; they'll screw it up!" But God risks because he shares.

Children need a sense of power, which must include the capacity for choice. Of course, the limits on that power must be age-appropriate, but stripping a child of power will wound them: "I am your father and you will do exactly as I say!" Left with only one acceptable option, and the threat of punishment if they don't choose that one acceptable option, a child will be stripped of dignity -- because dignity involves the divinely-given capacity for choice.  Power requires choices. 

What our children need to hear is this:

"Not only do you have an option here, you may choose. Of course the consequences will also be yours, but I will never remove either your choices or their consequences. I love you too much."

As Danny Silk suggests in his book, Loving Your Kids On Purpose, when you strip a child of the ability to choose between option A or B, the only way to ensure they comply is through the threat of punishment. ...and that only leads to fear: "If I don't do what mommy or daddy wants, I will disappoint them... or worse."

"Perfect (whole, complete) love casts out fear." Love and fear don't co-exist well.

God is teaching us adults how to use his power, to exercise it well; and I've been afraid of that my whole life: "But, if I get to choose here, what if I blow it? What if I choose the wrong thing?  Will you be disappointed?  Will I be outside of your will?"  ...and fear wounds the relationship.  Further, I never learn how to handle power favorably; and the only way to really learn is to screw it up sometimes.  You don't learn until you really get the consequences.  But if you live in constant fear of blowing it, you don't learn how to handle power-- You only learn fear.

Our capacity for choice is a bit unnerving.  We're given a lot of latitude when it comes to chosing.  But that latitude is wholly necessary for learning to handle power...and therefore love.  Love bestows power.