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Friday, November 30, 2012

an element of wise choices: reasoning consequences

When we take a time out and teach our children about something specific that is wrong, do we give them the whole picture?

I do not necessarily mean when they are very small, and we are simply training obedience; but when they are taller, older, more able to reason out a situation. Say, maybe when they are 4 or 5 years old {some may be younger, others older... just a general age here}.

I know that my 8 year old is able to rationalize things she wants to have or do. She understands consequences, even if she does not always think them through: It might be fun to run across the parking lot, but if you are not looking for cars... they might not be looking for you either.

My 5 year old understands actions and consequences fairly well: I should not wave that stick around in the house because I might hit someone or break something...

My 4 year old is learning. And if you can keep her from melting down too quickly {working on that, too!, she can be reasoned with. She understands when it is explained: No, you cannot sit on your baby brother even if all you want to to is hug him because he will then scream at you and pull your hair, and you do not like that. {seriously, that is how she "loves" on him.}

I cannot tell my girls that doing those things are not fun to make them not do them.

Because they ARE fun.

Some things are not necessarily wrong. But when the are done in a wrong way or time or place, they become sin.

And sin is often "fun." 

Racing a friend to your class across the parking lot IS fun. And running is not bad. Twirling around the house with your princess wand... that's FUN. Trying to love your baby brother, that is so sweet! It's a good thing, right?

But I am failing them if I do not teach them to reason out and think through the whole situation.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12

Now, I am not saying that each of these specific scenarios will result in death if my child chooses to do it; but they each CAN result in hurt.

And it is part of my responsibility as Momma to teach them that while sin, even  thoughtless behavior, can be fun, we must consider any possible consequences before choosing to partake.

And which consequence is worse: having fun while racing in a parking lot and risking being hit by a car [which is WHY Mommy asks you not to do so] OR possibly being called a name for choosing to walk calmly and with a bit of decorum.

Choosing rather to suffer affliction [being called names or mocked? that is painful for any person] with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [that exhilaration of racing... it's fun!]; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt [God will reward your doing right]: for he had respect unto the recompence [looked at the possible consequences and chose the eternal reward of doing right over the singular pleasure of doing wrong]  of the reward. Hebrews11:25, 26

While I expect unquestioning obedience [though I have not always taught it consistently], after they have obeyed I sometimes talk to them about possible consequences if they had chosen to disobey.

And on the flip-side, when they choose to disobey and are facing those consequences, I speak to them about the reward they forfeited to have that little pleasure.

...Each child is different. There is not formula or cut & dry system to this.They understand different illustrations and often require different amounts and types of correction.

But every child must be taught how to reason, how to determine if a seemingly inconsequential action or activity does, indeed, have consequences, what those might be, and understand the personal responsibility of deciding if the momentary "pleasures" are worth it.

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