A while back an ad on the Yahoo home page for the Chevy Traverse claimed to have the answer to one of the biggest parental headaches. It showed a brother and sister in a car. He was irritating her and she had this attitude and of course got upset. Over and over….You’ve probably experienced this scene as many moms have in their own cars.
Then the traverse shows up in shining armor and they can now sit separately. The caption says “Finally You Can Separate Them.” The idea is that more space will fix the problem. Keeping them away from each other will result in sudden family harmony.
And it might. But what would it profit them? What would they learn? What character trait would it grow in them? And more importantly, would this solution bring glory to God?
Separating them teaches that when someone gets on our nerves, we can simply avoid them. It teaches that when I don’t like a situation, I can simply leave it. It doesn’t teach loving each other. It doesn’t teach overlooking an offense. It doesn’t teach humility. It doesn’t teach to be at peace with all men as far as it is up to you.
I don’t know when or how parenting became all about the parents. Yes, as parents we want peace…quiet…harmony…we want to be able to finish a thought process in our minds without being interrupted by “MOM!!!!!!!”. But this too shall pass. All too soon we will be ordering graduation invitations, sending care packages to college and then helping plan a wedding. And we want them to be able to live a life that pleases God in each of these stages in their lives. That starts with our parenting. Purposeful parenting, not parenting for peace and quiet or whatever is easiest.
Don’t run from the difficult situations; tackle them head on with the principles found in Scripture. That’s how to arm our kids with the heart character they will need to live a life that pleases God. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 speaks to preachers, but I think it holds a wealth of wisdom for parents too. We definitely do not want them to turn away from the truth, so we need to endure the hardships and purposely use opportunities (such as fighting in the car) to teach God’s ways to them.
I think we would all agree that our goal for our kids is more than just getting them to adulthood alive. We want them to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”(I Timothy 6:11) so that they “may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (
1:10). And we don’t need a Traverse to accomplish the task. Col