A Ditch and a Shovel
Chris Price began his teaching by providing an image for raising up gospel-loving kids. It went something like this: Imagine that God has given you a shovel and that He has asked you to dig a ditch in the life of your child. A ditch in which the love of God and the truth of Scripture can readily flow. And the deeper you dig that ditch, the harder it will be for them to get out of it and the easier it will be for them to fall back in.
A child may try to climb out of the ditch. A child may teeter on the edge of the ditch and spend time exploring the area above the ditch’s valley. A parent really can’t control these things. But a parent can choose to keep their hands on the shovel. And a parent can keep digging and keep praying.
“You love me”
Chris’s prayer is that whenever his kids think of him, their first response will be, “You love me.” Regardless of the beliefs or the behaviour that his children may develop, he wants this to be the foundation of their identity as his children. The experience of unconditional love is what will they will remember when they are later faced with the pluralistic idea that biblical teaching is harmful or unloving. The love of their father will keep pointing them to the Author of Truth.
Guilt is a poor motivator
In theory, I understand the difference between character development and behaviour modification. But in practice, I find that I spend a lot of time explaining the cause-and-effect principle to my children.
Chris concluded one of his sessions with a powerful statement. “Guilt is a poor motivator; love is a lasting one.”The gospel turns our feelings of guilt into signposts of God’s grace and mercy. Trust the power of the gospel in your parenting.
We reproduce what we are