[From Julie] This summer marks the entry of the Walker family into the world of full-on teen involvement. Devin will be starting high school in the fall, he is able to attend teen programs at summer camp, and he is officially part of the teen class TRUTH at our church. For the summer, TRUTH has hosted a teen & parent class. We’ve been talking about covenant families which has been very interesting. This past Wednesday night Devin and Noel and I discussed scriptural values we could add to our family covenant. One of the scriptures we looked at was Colossians 3:20-21. Devin was impressed that God has more to say about families than just ‘children obey your parents’. I think he found a new life verse in ‘fathers do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged’. 🙂
I wanted Devin to tell us what we do that discourages him. He thought about this for a minute and then said ‘when you fight’. This rather took me by surprise. I don’t think Noel and I fight very often at all. Was this Devin’s impression? Oh dear! Devin was quick to say that we don’t fight very much but if we did he would find that discouraging. Okay, good to know. Put this one under the heading of kids learn more from your actions than what comes out of your mouth. This got me to thinking (yet again) that my boys are watching me and learning what a marriage is by the way Noel and I behave. How our house runs is their normal. The way we treat each other is very likely to be the way they will one day treat their wives. What they see in our relationship may be what they emulate.
If all that is true, then, one of the most life-affecting things we can do for our kids is to work on having the best marriage that we can. I guess that isn’t news to anyone, but every once in a while this realization is brought home to me in vivid colour. While I don’t think there is anyway my boys can live in our home and be unaware that occasionally there is disagreement or hurt feelings etc., I do want them to have confidence that their parents will always work out these disagreements. I think there is worse things they could experience than watching their Dad and I work through some rough spots. Thankfully these rough spots are not frequent or exceedingly tough. We are very blessed and it’s taken some hard work over the last 19 years.
What Devin’s comment last week did for me was to bring this to mind again. We need to be very careful with how we speak to each other. We need to reassure our kids that we are in this together. They need to see us resolve issues not just disagree about them. Train them to be good listeners, to forgive easily and to ask for forgiveness. Life is not always about being right. It’s about loving well. It’s about loving the person more than the issue. When we get these four boys to adulthood, I pray that I see men like that.