I’m barely out of the Introduction and I’m already being influenced by First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God through Intentional Discipleship and its exploration of Intentional Parenting. My oldest was headed to the park to meet a friend (a child of the opposite sex). She didn’t want to check in by riding her bike back here and popping her head in, but instead, she wanted to use her friend’s phone to call.
I don’t like the kids using phones – not yet. Part of our job as parents (in this household), is to limit things. To be a restraint… But after reading just the introduction of First Ask Why, I had to ask myself, WHY don’t you want her using the phone to check in? Should you be using this as an opportunity to explore her growing independence?
Why? is a question that allows us to learn, but…I also think it can have an unraveling effect on us – as parents and as people: I have to trust that God the Holy Spirit is leading me and that God has given me new desires (Ezekiel 36:26.) So, asking myself Why? all the time can lead to self-doubt and introspection for which, I frankly don’t have the time.
I had a long talk with my oldest just the other night. We’ve been having LOTS of those, lately. It’s a season we’re in… I was trying to explain why there are things that we don’t do, even though her friends are doing them and, she would love to be freer. I brought up the story of the prodigal son: “He wanted his inheritance early. And even though his father knew it would probably end badly, he gave his son freedom. Because, I told her, freedom is love. It’s why Adam and Eve were allowed to decide something that would change all of humanity – because God loved them.
“And if you love something, I think you’ve probably heard the saying, you have to let it go. Love is freedom, and freedom is the right to be wrong…”
“Can I have my inheritance early?” my oldest asked me eagerly, making me fear I’d failed to convey something important. “No,” I told her. “It’s my job to train to you in the way that you should go” (Proverbs 22:6.) “But when you’re old enough, I will let you go and make all of your own decisions – right or wrong.”
When, First Ask Why has made me ask myself, is “when you’re old enough”?