When I picked Joaquin up from Kids’ Church, I was told by his teacher that he misbehaved that day in class. His teacher heard him saying some words that were inappropriate. At this moment, part of me felt embarassed and wanted the ground to open and swallow me up. You see, this was after my husband just preached a powerful message in the assembly hall. The teachers were probably thinking “This is Pastor Paolo’s son? How could he behave this way?!”
I was surprised to hear about Joaquin’s behavior, yet not that surprised because we’ve observed that Joaquin has been in the stage of testing all boundaries. I affirmed the teacher that he was right to call out Joaquin’s wrong behavior and told him that we were going to deal with it at home.
These are my thoughts:
1.Our kids will never be perfect. Yes, we try to train them and discipline them in the best way we can, but they, like any other kid, will make mistakes and fail us once in a while. It is unfair for us to expect them to be perfect because neither are we. The sooner we accept this, the better we can handle a situation like this. Don’t worry about what people will think about you as parents, but what God thinks about how you are honoring Him in discipling your children.
2. Their disobedience always presents us with a good teaching moment. As soon as we got home, Paolo and I had to discipline Joaquin and process everything that happened. We are thankful for his repentant heart. Eventually, he admitted, “I couldn’t resist it because I wanted to fit in with the other kids.” (Don’t be shocked! Our Kids’ Church is open to all kinds of kids and our teachers do all they can to disciple them in the ways of God.) Here was Joaquin, stating a weakness that most of us took so long to realize. And it was the perfect opportunity to teach him that without God’s help, he will be unable to resist temptation. We also talked to him about identity and peer pressure.
3. Our kids need to know how we feel about them especially when they have let us down. It was a sweet moment when both Paolo and I affirmed Joaquin that we love him just the same, and that it is because of this love that we are disciplining him.
4. Parents need to be vigilant and prayerful. We can never assume that our kids will behave 100% of the time. Constantly get feedback from people who have encounters with your child like their teachers, parents of their playmates and relatives. Monitor where they are and what they are doing . We always need to stand guard. And we constantly need to cover our children in prayer. Pray that the Lord will empower them to say no to temptation.
As hard (and a bit embarassing, I must admit) as this situation was for us, we know that God uses times like these to mold and strengthen our child’s character, if we respond in the right way.