The month of October was a blur in our house. So much went on in October that I’m kind of amazed we are still standing.
Don’t get me wrong it was a good month, we accomplished a lot, worked hard in the church, pushed ourselves to get things accomplished and to have people see our church as a place they can come to no matter who they are or where they are on their journey to find someone to be with them, to listen to them, to share Jesus love with them, a place of rest in a world that has forgotten how to rest. Just like we have forgotten how to rest. Sometimes in my zeal to do the work God has called me to, I fail to take the time I should to be still.
This “being still” is something that I have been able to do when I head to Orange. I know it seems counter intuitive for me to say that going to a conference full of 5000 people, that moves from arrival to departure is a time to be still but it is for me. The take away’s are huge, and I love being with people who are working so hard to make Jesus real to generations that have been either forgotten or counted as loss to the church world in general.
If you follow me on Twitter at all you may notice that I have a few hashtag’s that I use when it comes to family and the kids. #rememberingmymarbles comes from two years ago, and #sayyes comes from this past year, I may also put #sayyestoachild but you get the idea. If it’s something I want the wider Orange community to see, because hey we all like to brag on our kids, I’ll usually add an @orangeleaders.
The concepts that I have learned at these conferences have made a difference in how I interact with my family and with potential families that need to be connected to a faith community willing to support them, and share who Jesus is with them. There are times when I will remember them, usually when I want to react instead of interact. There are times that my wife, who has not gotten to attend has said them to me, usually when she sees my frustration level begin to increase, or when I just want to say no because I am tired, having spent so much of myself for the work that we are involved with. I believe it is very important for me to Say Yes to my child and the children that we come in contact with in our neighborhood. I also am grateful for the ability to remember my marbles, especially when I look at the 12 year old who was just 2 yesterday.
Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, on to the reason for the title.
Saying no to a child can be just as important as saying yes. We need to be willing to say no, and we need to realize that there is a Biblical, God principle in the idea of saying no to a child.
Proverbs 3:11–12 (NLT) — 11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. 12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about saying no because it’s easier. I’m not advocating using the concept found in this verse to abdicate actually interacting with a child. Correction and discipline are not supposed to be tools to allow for grown up time. Manufacturing some obsolete infraction of the rules to get kids out of the way so people can have me time just causes resentment, anger and a ton of bitterness.
What we sometimes forget is that sometimes we say no, because no matter how unpopular the word is, no matter how much anger it brings from the child in our life, we need to. There are times that they don’t understand, that they don’t see the big picture, and that they won’t make logical, safe decisions. There are times that we need to say no because they really have missed the mark, or they haven’t lived up to logical and attainable responsibilities for a kid their age.
I love my kids, all three of them are awesome, and I am equally happy that there will be no more than three. I love to give them stuff, to take them places, to spend time with them, I don’t love having to take things away because of behavior, or bad choices, but as the parent as the one that is supposed to be training them up in the way they should go, I have to be willing to say no.
Our oldest wants a phone, listening to her one would think that without a phone she will suddenly stop breathing all-together. Living in the city of Baltimore there are times that J and I want her to have one. On several occasions in the last few months we have even flirted with the idea. I get it in my head for us to have the discussion and well, then things go south, she makes a bad choice, and it gets put aside, or she gets a hold of her moms phone and suddenly becomes a PhoneZombie, the world as she knows it evaporates and she is stuck in phone land.
Recently here in Baltimore a 12 year old girl went missing, and it was found that she had been chatting across social media with older guys, much older guys, in fact this was a pattern, so when my oldest asked for an Instagram account attached to my wife’s phone and then put up a picture that could have been very easily misconstrued to show improper use of a certain digit. I said no. No to Instagram, no to a phone no to her very own Facebook, no to snapchat. Not because I’m anti technology, far from it, and not because I want to keep her from interacting with her friends and the wider world, but because as her dad, it’s important for me to keep her safe. Sometimes I have to say no because I love her, and because she doesn’t know how to or won’t because at 12 it’s more important to be accepted than it is to be safe.
So if you’re a parent or even a fellow Orangeer…Remember. It’s okay to SAY NO TO A CHILD…