His little 6-year-old hands were shaving carrots as I cut the onions for our dinner that night. His siblings were at piano lessons and it was the perfect opportunity to monopolize mom’s attention. He didn’t hesitate. Within seconds he was telling me tales and chattering away about LEGO masterpieces.
Then he stopped and looked firmly at me. “Mom, Marilyn brought coffee today,” he tattled in the most concerned voice he could muster. I wanted to giggle but instead I reacted. I dropped the knife and raised my eyebrows, letting my eyes grow really wide and gasped, “Coffee? What a sinner!”
He half rolled his eyes at me and said, “Mom, drinking coffee is not a sin.”
I smiled big and my heart was full. My goal was to help him hear the tattling tone in his voice and remind him that her behavior wasn’t wrong, even though I personally hate coffee. But I got much more. I saw that he was able to discern the truth even when my behavior seemed to indicate otherwise.
Our playful encounter shed light on a very helpful parenting tool that somehow came naturally to me. I’ve taught my children to discern truth from lies and to understand what the Bible really says by constantly questioning them. And by offering up occasional absurdities like coffee drinking being a sin.
Sometimes my comments go unnoticed and I have to backtrack and say- wait did anyone hear that?
But most of the time they’re met with laughter and rebuttal. A very welcome rebuttal.
Why? Because kids are designed to question and argue the point. God created them that way. My job as a mom is to help guide them in their questioning. It’s my job to teach them to question things that don’t seem right- no matter who says them. After all, many a child has fallen prey to a predator because he was taught to obey without question.
Now let me carefully tell you I expect my kids to obey me without question… UNLESS I ask them to do something against God’s Word. Then all bets are off. I’m not the ultimate authority here. God is. My job and calling is to help them learn to obey God no matter what the cost.
Note that I said OBEY GOD. I am indeed supposed to teach them to obey me, but ultimately it’s God I want them to listen to. I think a large part of the secret to helping them do that is giving them the tools to discern truth.
I want to help them know truth from lies so they are certain what to hold close to their hearts and what to cast away when faced with the lies of this world.
Sometimes the easiest way to do this is by teaching them to recognize the wrong thing. Of course I don’t mean that I say ugly words to my kids or talk about inappropriate things.
I just often do things like I did that day with the coffee. I am always careful to over exaggerate and if my playful banter isn’t met with the opposition I expect, I never let it go. To do so would be cementing lies in their heads. I always bring it back around and help them see the error in my statement.
One day, they are going to be in this world on their own and that will come much sooner than I expect it. I want them to be ready!
So what about you? Have you tried something like this? I’d love to hear how it went.
Join our community for FREE printables!
We’ve combined all of our best resources for discipling your children into one amazing download and it’s absolutely FREE to members of our community. Click the image below to download our 81+ page collection of printables today.