Tonight, my seven year old daughter made a choice that she shouldn’t have. She had been warned that if she made this particular choice, she would have her Kindle taken away. This upset her a lot because she loves to listen to “Adventures in Odyssey” to fall asleep. She cried the entire way home. After we got home, I got down on one knee with her and we talked about it. I asked her what I should do in this situation.
She looked at me, with tears filling her eyes, and told me that I should take her Kindle even though she didn’t want me to. She then burst into tears.
I had a choice here. I could take the Kindle and follow through with the consequence I had put forward earlier. Or I could show mercy.
I thought about it.
I looked in her tear-filled eyes and told her that I was so proud that she did the right thing by telling me I should take her Kindle even though it hurt her heart. She could have easily told me that she didn’t deserve a consequence and that I should give her a second chance. Or she could have told me I could have taken something else away that wasn’t as important to her. But she didn’t. She told me exactly what she deserved. And it hurt her…a lot.
I looked at that girl with so much love. It reminded me so much of the love that God has for me. I deserve a consequence. We all do. We are all born into sin and deserve a consequence. I asked her if she ever heard of “mercy”. She said she kinda did.
God showed us mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross so we didn’t have to.
John 3:16 says “God loved the world so much that he gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him would not die, but have eternal life.”
We deserve a consequence but God loves us so much that he didn’t give me the consequence I deserve. Instead, He died for me so I didn’t have to. It takes a lot of love to do that!
I decided that I wasn’t going to take the Kindle even though that’s what she deserved. I told her we should always do the right thing even if it hurts our heart. I told her that it doesn’t matter if she is 7, 8, or 30, I always want her to do the right thing. I always like to catch my kids doing good things rather than catch them doing something wrong.
I don’t know if I have this parenting thing figured out or not. I do know one thing though. I feel like I taught her more tonight about a father’s love and God’s love than I ever could have by giving her a consequence. I know that she is going to bed knowing that her dad loves her and that God loves her so much that He is willing to show mercy and grace even when she doesn’t deserve it. To me, that matters more than anything.
Gerad Haupt is a husband, father of two beautiful girls, and avid fitness and music lover. He is a kitchen director at Chick-fil-A, Certified Trainer with Chick-fil-A Corporate and serves on the worship team at LCBC Church in Waynesboro. Visit Gerad’s blog Spartan Daddy.