In the face of believing that kids need to do hard things and face challenges and learn how to press in, I’m one of those moms who makes things easy for my kids.
But only in one area.
Not when it comes to the laundry.
Not when it comes to chores.
Not when it comes to sibling conflict, disappointments, difficult issues, or an unpredictable world.
But in this.
I want to make it easy for them to ‘fess up. To talk about any topic. To circle back and tell the truth, even if that wasn’t the initial telling.
For this reason.
I don’t like to be painted into a corner. When I’m trying to process what I could have done better or where I might have messed up or where there might have been a better option, having someone push and wheedle and ask rhetorical questions does nothing for me.
Well, actually, not nothing.
I feel defensive in those type encounters. Wary. Unwilling to be vulnerable and mistrustful of the other party’s intent.
And I bet I’m not alone in those emotions.
But for some reason, when it comes to parenting and guiding kids, we think they will have a different reaction to being pushed, being browbeaten, being put in a position with no option for dignity. So, while ideally, yes, we want our kids to own up, to take responsibility, to discuss anything with us, to tell the truth, we often set them up for failure.
We set them up for failure by creating discussion environments that are far more like legal courtside cross examinations than guided conversations about character and choices and veracity.
Now, don’t get me wrong. When I’m faced with a kid who has knowingly painted one of the bathroom cabinets with red nail polish and is lying about it with a straight face, I want to go all CSI on them. Totally. I’m mad and I’m nobody’s fool and I want to begin the justice process forthwith.
This parenting thing, this character-building thing, is the long game. And I want my kids to know that they can tell me anything. They can confess. No matter the size of the infraction, I want them to know I’m big enough to handle it. There may be consequences. There may be some trust that has to be rebuilt.
But there won’t be a freak out.
If I want them to be honest, then I have to be. If I’ve told them they can tell me anything, then I’ve got to be honest to uphold the bargain. I can’t blow up in anger, I can’t pepper them with pointless questions and aggressive queries.
So, sometimes with gritted teeth and always with God’s grace, I make it easy. I make it easy for my kids to tell the truth. To divulge. To reveal. Sometimes, it requires a game face that should earn me an Oscar.
So, yes, embrace the hard when it comes to life experiences and chores and pursuits. Let’s let our kids learn the value of the hard-earned dollar, the hard-earned privilege.
But let’s make it easy. Easy to come to us. Easy to tell us. Because that’s what God does for us. He parents us by making His arms open and His ears listening. He makes the burden of our guilt light when we come before Him.
And so we can extend the same kind of easy to the kids He’s entrusted to us.