"What are you aiming for? When your boys disobey, disrespect, are unkind. When they seek to understand what's important. When they notice girls, cheat in school or fight on the bus. When they're seeking marriage, failing in school or deciding whether to have sex for the first time or not...what are you aiming for? I want their hearts. No behavior modification or fad parenting of the day. No, I want the hearts of our boys, because God wants the hearts of our boys. I'm aiming for the heart. But how? 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.' (Matthew 23:27-28, ESV). Looking at parenting through the lens of these verses has changed everything for me. You see, I was a Pharisee. Boy was my cup clean on the outside. But on the inside? On the inside my cup was filthy, full of all uncleanness. I had everybody fooled, even myself. I believed that if I did good things, it made me good. Actually, it's probably closer to the truth to say I believed that if I didn't do bad things, I wasn't bad. I didn't know that no one is good. I didn't really understand that everyone sins. And I didn't understand the depth of my own sin until the Lord showed it to me. Question: In our efforts to raise our sons are we teaching them that if they do good things they are good? Righteous even? If we teach them that being good is all it takes, if our discipline and training focuses on their behavior, how will they know they need a Savior? Are we raising little Pharisees? Or are we raising Godly men with a heart for God? If a Godly son is your goal, you must aim for the heart. Because unless the heart is changed -- touched -- the behavior will stay the same. It might look a little different, morph some as they grown. But behavior is always a symptom of the estate of the heart. What's in the heart, comes out. 'Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.' (Matthew 12:34).
Ask yourself these questions:
What parenting tools have I been using that only focus on changing behavior and not the heart? Am I willing to lay them down even if they produce what looks like a good child?
Reaching a child's heart takes time. Behavior modification is much faster! Am I willing to change things about my life so that I have the time to invest in the hearts of my children?
Most importantly: Am I willing to submit my own heart to God and allow Him to mold me from the inside out?
Shepherding our boys is not for the faint of heart, friends! Once a week or more I'm tempted to just throw it all out the window (including the boys...) and take the easier path. So what keeps me going? I want their hearts. Just like my Heavenly Father wants mine.
:: Assignment for Today ::
Comment: We tell them, "Be a good boy." What does it truly mean to be "good." And how can we exemplify this in our own lives?