When I was a young boy, I can remember we had a few family rules which we were never meant to cross. My own children are now of an age, where I can talk to them and help them to understand why they should or shouldn’t do something, I have started to wonder if I should create “house rules”, my children are not unruly, they are not spoilt, and for the most part they are kind and caring to others! So is it necessary?
My wife and I have tried to teach them right and wrong, and we have not been told of any bad behaviour at their school, so I take it from that we haven’t done badly (admittedly we have also had great support from the wider family in this!) I thought this morning about the film, BiCentennial Man, the first time he is seen on screen he displays a “one-time only” presentation of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics:-
- A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Andrew (the android played by Robin Williams), has these codes of behaviour literally installed in him! But, he was also unique, as he was capable of contemplative thought, creative design and eventually earns more money selling his carvings and clocks than the CEO of the robotics company who created him!
What “code” have we got within us, is it installed at creation (in this case conception), or does the “nature versus nurture” debate kick in? I read a story about a girl who grew up in a satanist home, basically everything most of us consider good and right her parents and community taught was bad, wrong and evil and vice versa! The whole thing is horrific!
Something that I have picked up on and refuse to allow my children to say or do, is making the other feel stupid, worthless, ugly or unwanted! My daughter has started calling other people “stupid”, I will not accept that and she is made to sit on the stairs for a time, every time she does it!
There has to be a balance, which I am sure I have said before, parents have to “choose their battles”, I refuse to allow my children to become spoilt, they have to say please and thank you, but certain times you have to treat them, even Jesus said
“Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.”
Now, I realise that Jesus wasn’t deliberately giving parenting advice but he had a point! If your child isn’t asking for anything unreasonable, should you refuse them?
If I could get my children to know in their heart the following, without question, with as strong a conviction as a robot must follow the robotic laws, then I would have succeeded as a parent (in my eyes anyway!):-
- They are loved by God
- They are loved by their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and Grandparents!
- They are beautiful! (and wo betide anyone who says different!)
- They are smart, intelligent and have gifts!
- They are amazing!
- They are capable of so much, they just need to try!
- They do not need to earn our approval, they already have it!
Now read it again but instead of THEY read YOU and that’s what God is trying to say to YOU!!