April 25, 2012

How to Pray for Your Strong-Willed Child

 

It’s always the pastor’s kids.

When God was dolling out the gene pool, he knew this compliant, follow the rules, don’t rock the boat, “my worst college rebellion was putting dish washer detergent in the campus fountain” guy needed some spice. So He sprinkled a little Austin on my life sandwich (with a divinely playful grin no doubt).

I could start a new blog dedicated to his daily antics. His hilarious (and uncomfortably honest) questions. The notes his teacher sends home from school. My natural reaction is to do what all the “good little kids” do to the mischievous ones.

Tattle on him.

But I haven’t figured out who to tell.

He’s fearless, and a lot of days he takes us to the outer edges of our own parental insecurities. But in the midst of the chaos, there’s one undeniable reality about our 6 year old corporate negotiator to be:

We absolutely love that boy.

And I really sort of admire him, too (even when I want to send him to live with his grandparents). His determination. His persistence. His courage. His “I’m gonna do this until you have the guts to stop me” approach to life. I honestly wish I was more naturally wired that way.

As I was praying for the Aus-man this morning, I felt some divine leading.

Stop praying against his strong-willed tendencies. Stop praying he conforms. Stop praying for timid compliance. Those things might make parenting easier (and the eyes of other parents less judgmental), but they won’t make your son more Christ-like.

Stop praying he weakens.

Start praying for meekness.

Meek isn’t a word we use much today. “LeBron James takes the Bosh pass meekly to the basket for a quick two points!” Or at least one we use 100% accurately. Meek sounds “weak.” But that’s not necessarily true.

Meek can actually be defined as “controlled strength.” It’s a term most used in equestrian circles to describe a stallion that has been broken for battle. He’s not weak. He’s not timid. He’s not afraid.

He will simply utilize his strength in whatever way the Master leads.

If I’m honest, some days I just want Austin to be easier to parent (not the purest motivation for a loving father). God wants him strong, confident, powerful, tested, and ready to embrace the Kingdom life he was destined to live.

Surrendered not compliant.

Passionate not predictable.

Meek not weak.

 

Photo cc by Inspire Kelly (Vita Bella) on Flickr

Originally Published: April 25, 2012
Category: Parenting
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