This morning at church, I had another moment. Of the good variety. You know- those moments where God taps on your shoulder, or the proverbial lightbulb lights up. One of those moments.
We had a visiting speaker, and he was speaking from Ephesians. He explained that the first three chapters of Ephesians cover redemption theology- bringing a person to the cross of Christ. Then, beginning in chapter four, the theme switches to sanctification. Now that you have accepted Christ, do this- to progressively become more like Him.
He described it as the “Put on, Put off” principle. The old man did this- put that off, and as the new man, do this. Whatever the situation may be, there was always a “do this” option. Paul didn’t leave the believers wondering what the next step was. He showed them.
Then our speaker made this statement, which is what really drove it home for me. He said “Never tell someone to stop doing something without telling them what to start doing.”
So pertinent for me as a parent!
How many times, be honest now, as a parent, have you said “Stop!” And that was it? No explanation of why, or recommendation of what kind of behavior was preferred.
I do it, and unfortunately, I do it more often than I’d like to admit.
Saying “stop,” especially to a toddler, without redirecting the behavior, is pointless. Even at a young age, they need to have an explanation, and they need to be offered another option.
Even if it’s something so simple as, “Elijah, stop doing that. Mommy doesn’t want you to do that because it might hurt you. Here, let’s play with these toys instead.” Voila! I have just told my son to stop doing something, explained why to him, and given him a better option.
Just like the example set for us in the Bible.
As adults, we don’t like to be left “hanging.” Do we? So why do we expect our children to be ok with it? Or- a double whammy for me- our students?
I am thankful for that reminder, and I am ever so thankful for the way that the Bible can touch and teach in every aspect of my life.