A number of years ago, when Will and Nate were just little guys, I first heard the following wisdom: pray specifically that your children will get caught for the bad things they do. When your children are three and one this is not a big deal. I mean, there’s just not that much you don’t already know about. But at nine and seven years old, having this prayer answered can be jarring. I know because my son was caught, much like I’ve prayed he would be, just last week. And I have to tell you that I was very surprised. Not because it was the worst, most evil thing in the world, but because I just wouldn’t have thought he was capable of this particular offense. But obviously he is. He made no denial or excuse.
I prayed this prayer for a specific reason. I prayed it because I wanted to be able to guide the boys, and help them make course corrections when they should be made — right away. I thought it was about learning from mistakes and not developing bad habits. As a parent I want to be about cultivating character, not just engendering conforming behavior. That’s why I wanted the opportunity to talk through the how and the why of wrongdoing. My aim is to approach everything through a biblical worldview, looking at the Bible to inform and guide our rationales and actions.
What amazes me now is how much this getting caught thing was really about me and my parental naivete. I needed this little guy to get caught because I needed to parent all of my boys with a realistic view. As my friend Michelle said, “We should never be shocked by the sins of our children.”
My prayer is that I won’t be shocked and that I’ll love them unconditionally — no matter what they get caught for. I’m committed to modeling godly character, teaching them right from wrong, and seeking to make things right when mistakes are made. I’m actually just incredibly thankful for this situation from last week — because getting caught is the epitome of the teachable moment. For parent and child.