Parenting and Mercy

This isn’t my typical exercise and fitness post. I haven’t even posted in a long time, but for some reason (maybe it’s the Global Leadership Summit I attended today) I felt compelled to write. Every now and then, our hearts need some exercise too. Maybe someone out there will be touched by this.

So tonight, my seven year old daughter made a choice that she shouldn’t have. She had been warned that if she made this particular choice, she would have her Kindle taken away. This upset her a lot because she loves to listen to “Adventures in Odyssey” to fall asleep. She cried the entire way home. After we got home, I got down on one knee with her and we talked about it. I asked her what I should do in this situation.

She looked at me, with tears filling her eyes, and told me that I should take her Kindle even though she didn’t want me to. She then burst into tears.

I had a choice here. I could take the Kindle and follow through with the consequence I had put forward earlier. Or I could show mercy.

I thought about it.

I looked in her tear-filled eyes and told her that I was so proud that she did the right thing by telling me I should take her Kindle even though it hurt her heart. She could have easily told me that she didn’t deserve a consequence and that I should give her a second chance. Or she could have told me I could have taken something else away that wasn’t as important to her. But she didn’t. She told me exactly what she deserved. And it hurt her…a lot.

I look at that girl with so much love. It reminded me so much of the love that God has for me. I deserve a consequence. We all do. We are all born into sin and deserve a consequence. I asked her if she ever heard of “mercy”. She said she kinda did.

God showed us mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross so we didn’t have to.

John 3:16 says “God loved the world so much that he gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him would not die, but have eternal life.”

We deserve a consequence but God loves us so much that he didn’t give me the consequence I deserve. Instead, He died for me so I didn’t have to. It takes a lot of love to do that!

I decided that I wasn’t going to take the Kindle even though that’s what she deserved. I told her we should always do the right thing even if it hurts our heart. I told her that it doesn’t matter if she is 7, 8, or 30, I always want her to do the right thing. I always like to catch my kids doing good things rather than catch them doing something wrong.

I don’t know if I have this parenting thing figured out or not. I do know one thing though. I feel like I taught her more tonight about a father’s love and God’s love than I ever could have by giving her a consequence. I know that she is going to bed knowing that her dad loves her and that God loves her so much that He is willing to show mercy and grace even when she doesn’t deserve it. To me, that matters more than anything.

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Everyone Needs Love

Watch this video, then read the post

Upon watching all the videos on Facebook, I was struck by the particular video above where the guy pretends to be homeless and puts a sign in front of him that said “need money for drugs, alcohol, and weed” or something to that effect.  The video moves forward as person after person contributes money to this guys cup with comments like “you do you bro” or “keep livin’ man.”   The video progresses to a the same “homeless” guy with a little girl laying across his legs holding a sign that says “need money to feed my family,” or something to that extent.  Person after person after person walked by, not giving them one cent.  But then another homeless woman came up to them and gave them all she had, saying “you need this more than I do.”  He then reveals to her that he wasn’t really homeless and that it was just a social experiment.  He then gives her the money back along with $100 extra.
My issue with this video is the people that supported this homeless guy when the sign read that it would be used to buy alcohol and weed.  What is this world coming to?!!!  One of the biggest reasons that people don’t support homeless people and contribute to them financially is because we never know they are actually using it for food.  So we choose not to give. You hear it all the time.  Are these people rewarding this guys honesty?  At least I know what he is using it for so I might as well give?  Do we not really think?  Do we not realize that supporting someone’s drug habit is also supporting them not being able to get a job?  So many places of employment do drug testing before they hire you.  Or is it that we don’t really care?  Do we value the life of that homeless person so little that we will willingly contribute to the same vices that kill so many homeless people a year and land them in prison?  A slightly more forward and aggressive, yet similar, situation would be a sign that says “trying to kill my self, need money for knife”.  Would we willingly give to that too?  The situations aren’t so dissimilar that you can’t draw a parallel.

Some may say, what do you care?  It’s their life, if that what makes them happy, who are you to tell them they can’t?  I take so many issues to that mindset.  I had an uncle that died from alcohol abuse, he literally drank himself to death.  If that is what made him happy, should I have bought him a six pack of his favorite brew?  No, because I care too much.  Sorry not sorry.  That’s who I am.  I value human life.  Take that however you want to.  It is what it is.  I can’t support something that is completely damaging  someone no matter how “good” it is making them feel.

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There is some hope in this video.  The homeless woman showed so much humility and generosity.  She didn’t have any money to her name, only what she had on hand, yet she gave it anyway.  It’s this type of selflessness that I hope to instill in my child.  I wish I had a heart as big as this woman.  Something tugged on that woman’s heartstrings that day.  She valued human life.  She knew in her heart of hearts that she would be ok, she would live at least another day, but she couldn’t say that for the man and his daughter.  So she gave all she had.  To her, everyone needs love.  She gave them so much more than money, she gave them love.

I want my daughter to be the kind of person that puts others before herself.  I want her to be the person that if an opportunity knocks to better someone else’s day or even their life, that she would take it.  I want her to not be afraid to stand up for what she believes.  I want her to be confident, strong, and loving to everyone.  I want her to know that you can disagree with someone and still love them.  I want her to be the best person she can be.  I want her to value the life of others.  Her heart is so big and full of love and I can’t wait to see what it can do in the future.  She has to still go on dates with me of course.  Now that’s just a given.

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