Fireflies lit up the night sky in a sweet dance. The air was rich with the sound of crickets and tree frogs. I closed my eyes to drink in the warm, summer air that enveloped me like a blanket. Sipping sweet tea on the deck, my friend began to talk about the challenges she was experiencing with her teenage daughter.
We had always differed in our parenting styles. My friend would forgo punishments in the name of fostering a positive environment. Her goal was always to instill in her kids independence and a healthy self esteem. It was a more permissive style of parenting. And now, my friend’s young adult daughter is living contrary to what she had been taught.
“I think we were too permissive with her. I think we were wrong,” my friend mumbled through a blank stare. Her eyes were saturated with sorrow and regret. I have known my sweet friend since our kids were little, and I knew that she could not have loved them more.
The question is, What would cause a child who was dearly loved, to go completely off the rails?
This particular question begs more questions.
What does the most loving home look like?
What do the most loving parents look like?
What are the behaviors that lead to a fully-loved kid?
I believe the answers lie in this question, Where does the love a parent has for a child come from? Is it a biological phenomenon within human beings? If I loved my child with everything in me, would that be enough?
You can’t fill a round hole with a square peg.
I believe the greatest love we can give to our children comes first, from God. In other words, the greatest, fullest expression of love our kids can receive, is God’s love through us. To love our kids completely, our love needs to be God’s love.
Leaving God out of the equation of love toward our kids shortchanges them of being fully loved.
The best way to love our kids is with a Godly love. That means that we love them in a way that is consistent with the character of God. This type of love has limits. This type of love consists of nos. God has shown us what the most loving parent looks like in His Word.
Loving anyone with the fullest expression always involves God. Love, without Him, is lacking. Because the origin of love is God. Love is, at times, supporting, encouraging, and enabling. Love is also disciplining and saying no.
A significant part of the love a parent has for a child is in admonishing and denying. Some of the love our kids need from us can only come from disciplining or saying no. If we refuse to say no to our kids, they will miss out on the fullest expression of love that God meant for them to experience.
The greatest love flows from God’s goodness, not ours.
If we love our kids with a human understanding of love, instilling our morals and values into them, they will be lacking. We must love them in a manner consistent with the character of God. To know what this looks like, we must look at how God parents us. Is He loving? Merciful? Just? Does He say no? Does He discipline his children? There is no greater love than the love of God.
Say the love hole in our kids is shaped like a star. It would take a star-shaped love to fill it completely.
Lets say that our human capacity to love is shaped like a circle.
If we love our kids only with the human love within ourselves, we are only able to fill a portion of their love hole. There are unfilled spaces left. Their love hole is not full.
The love that comes from God through us is the same shape as the love hole in our kids. God made them with a love hole, and only He can fill it completely.
So, how do we give our kids the greatest amount of love? We go to the source. By tapping into God’s abundant love, we can fill our kids’ love hole. There is a God shaped love hole in all of us. And only the love from God is enough to fill it.
Thank you God for your great love.
Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids
I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.