Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Most Important Thing I've Taught My Kids

The most important thing I’ve taught my kids is to develop a relationship with their Savior Jesus Christ.

I still remember a few years ago when my oldest son, Aaron, and I were talking in the kitchen.  He had an opinion on the matter we were discussing that was contrary to my own, which has often been the case with all of my kids.  I took his perspective, and told him that even though I’m doing the best I can, I may not always be right.  But then again I may be right.  It was hard for him to judge that from his point of view.  But right or wrong, it didn’t mean it was easy for him to bend his will to mine.  I recommended he take the matter to the Lord.  I encouraged him to talk it over with him and even complain to Him about me and about what was being required of him.  I saw Aaron absorbing this.  I could always tell when my words were being received and when they bounced off him.  I could see him mentally thinking, “I can do that?  He loves me too?  He will hear me, hear my side?” 

Listen:  "Will He Really Answer Me?" Written by Michael McLean
I knew that the Lord would comfort Aaron, take his side, and then if needed gently show him how what his parents were asking him to do was right and good OR help him see how he could still keep the commandment to “honor thy father and mother” while disagreeing with us.  Maybe we were off Balance with him.  Maybe we were trying to find the Balance between micromanaging him and giving him too much freedom too soon.  Maybe we were leaning too much to one side or the other.

I knew the Lord didn’t expect or demand me to be perfectly Balanced with the General Balance as a parent but only to do the best I knew how RIGHT NOW to raise my children (Watch: video General vs. Specific Causes and Balanced vs. Imbalanced Causes).  And in response to that merciful promise, I’ve taught my children to go to Him.  I’ve taught them that even though I strive to keep myself in alignment with Him, I’m not completely Balanced.  I'm still on my journey too.  I'm hopefully ahead of my kids in some ways so I can help them in their journey but I still have things to learn, especially about raising each, individually unique child.  And so they need to know their General Cause--Jesus Christ.  They need to know how to go to Him when they are in Conflict especially with their parents’ wills and Desires. 

Sometimes kids, even though they disagree with their parents, believe their parents are always in alignment with their General Cause, meaning they think they are like God, which means they think they are always right.  And this is UNCONSCIOUS thinking of course.  So when there is Conflict they don’t turn to God but to Conflicting Causes—Imbalanced friends, substance abuse, etc.  Separating ourselves from God in their minds is important.  Trusting that if they develop a relationship with Him, taking all their complaints about us to Him, He will BOTH take their side and then gently help them see ours in time.

This is the kind of Dynamic General Cause that we have.  This is the kind of merciful ability that He has.

The following video is an example of what I mean when I say that I want my kids to know how to go to Him when they are in Conflict no matter how right or wrong they currently are.

I have realized that even if it means my kids are going to him to complain about me, my decisions, my ways, it is the development of that relationship—my child with their Savior—that is overarching-ly important to me. 

Listen:  "He Came For Me" written by Kenneth Cope
The only way I’ve been able to do this is to continue developing my relationship with Him too.  I’ve needed to ask Him to guide me in what to do with them and for them.  This has given me confidence that sending them to Him only helps them know that my guidance comes from Him in the first place.  Yet because I'm still learning who He is and what His ways are, my teaching them about their Savior as a priority only provides ME with the time and Mercy I need to get myself together.

In a way this seems Paradoxical.  Teaching our kids that we're not the be-all and end-all can be scary.  It seems like they might cease to trust us.  They may doubt us or think we're always wrong.  I've had these fears.  I do have them.  But the bottom line is seriously the bottom line for me.  I want them to know Him.  I know that is where their safety is (That’s where it’s been for me).  I know that is the key for them to obtain Sustainable Joy.  I know that their relationship with Him is THE MOST IMPORTANT relationship to develop FIRST!  With that relationship my sons will become Balanced brothers, friends, missionaries, husbands, fathers, and community leaders.  With that relationship my daughter will become a Balanced sister, friend, missionary, wife, mother, and community leader.  And if that means they see my errors, my mistakes, my not-there-yet state, then I have to let that happen.

But Paradoxically, because of that relationship with Him,  over time each of them is becoming a more Balanced son or daughter.