Friday, August 01, 2008

Everything is permissible

"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Corinthians 6:12
In light of the iPod situation, I've had little snippets of conversation with my big three (14, 13, and 10) this week around this verse. I'd like to say we've had deep discussions, but my kids read those as "LECTURE!" (Picture the big "L" on the forehead!). So I work hard to throw concepts out there, and then judiciously sneak weave them back into small windows found in the normal chitchat of the day...

It's come up not only with music, but with choice of movies. Just because a certain movie is rated an "acceptable" rating (and because all my peers are seeing it) does that mean it's a good one to see? (Remember this post about a movie choice?) It's come up with how we treat each other. Yes, a grunt is an answer, but is it a beneficial one?

I love this verse in The Message:
Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I'd be a slave to my whims.
So there's the challenge: Teaching our kids to look beyond what might be permissible, and help them reach for what is right. Permissible means accepting outside limits. This is a good start. We want our kids to accept "because I said so," if necessary. But that's not enough. And especially with teens, "because I said so" tends to breed the exasperation we are instructed to avoid.

But oh, to have them choose right just because it's right - not skating the line of what they can get by with. It's a subtle difference, but a true mark of maturity.

We are obviously in the thick of this process. When I talked with Allie-14 in person about the music download (and as I confiscated the iPod for a while), her response was, "I made a big mistake. It won't happen again."

Maybe it won't...but...most likely it will. Maybe not with music, but perhaps with another decision she's faced with. It gets so discouraging sometimes.

I have to remind myself IT IS A PROCESS, not an event. A process dotted with mistakes and wrong turns along the way. I pray I will see all my kids' mistakes, not as failures (both theirs as kids, and mine as a parent!), but as opportunities to learn. I want them to go beyond what is technically legal, and learn to love what is right.


Julie said...

The role of "teacher" as a parent never ends. I thought it was awesome that you didn't have to "pull teeth" for your daughter to undertand what you were talking to her about with the ipod music. I too hope and pray my kids actually get it someday!

Beck said...

We're dealing with some of the same issues with movies - thankfully, my oldest child hasn't discovered tweenage music culture yet! I love reading about how you peacefully and respectfully handle this.

Kate said...

I love your realistic approach to parenting and the way you grab hold of teachable moments and get everything you can out of them. It's a wise parent who can look at mistakes and shortcomings and see them as opportunities instead of failures.


Trena said...

Thanks so much for the reminder of the process! My kiddos are not yet teens but I needed that reminder just the same. Thanks for sharing your teachable moments!


Kiki said...

A process that will continue out of the teen years into young adulthood! Happy keeping the lines of communication open!

Susanne said...

Great post, Katherine! It truly is a step by step process towards reaching a bigger goal of making the right choices. I love how you realize that more mistakes will come and therefore can still parent with faith rather than "freaking out" when those mistakes come. Very encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging as I begin my journey of raising 5 young children. Well number 5 is just starting his/her life. I will continue to read and learn from you.

With God Always.

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Great post, as usual. I tend to want immediate results, so it's good to hear how you spread things out over the day/week/lifetime.

Thanks for the reminder that things take time.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Wonderful post, Katherine. I'm here via Beck via 5 Minutes for Parenting. (That makes sense, right? It's late. I'm not sure.) I just spent the last 15 minutes or so reading your site, and I've really enjoyed it. I'll be back!