He crawled into our bed and squeezed in his big boy body in between both my husband and I. It was 4 am and his breath smelled sweet. I thought to myself in my sleepy state- hmm that is strange. Why does his breath smell like a Skittle? I resisted the urge to blame him for getting into the leftover Halloween candy and wait till the morning. Morning came soon after and we got the kids up to start the day...my former M.O. would be to immediately question him and tell him that candy is horrible for you (this guy in particular is very sensitive to food dye) and how horrible it was to sneak around in the middle of the night made it even worse. My normal rant about how much I hate Halloween candy was ready to be unleashed.
After he ate some breakfast, I went in for the conversation. “So, buddy, did you eat some Skittles last night in the middle of the night?” I asked calmly- which is not the way I have parented him in the past….He looks down and says quietly, “I did.” And then he turned to walk upstairs. I choose to follow. I asked him where the candy was and he began to show me it was underneath the bathroom counter. He had hid the evidence: four pieces of candy wrappers underneath some towels which were stacked below the sink. He sat down on the bathroom floor feeling defeated. I could see shame start to come over him. Intercepted by the Holy Spirit, my body just sat with him and I thought about how similar this all felt. How many times do I hide the things I don’t want to be found...the things I am ashamed of...My son avoids eye contact and says, “I didn’t want you to know.” I leaned in and told him I understood what that felt like. And much like him, we all hide our bad choices because of fear. I shared with him how Adam and Eve hid in the garden and yet God, being a good Father, sought after them anyway. I learned even more in our conversation than maybe his brain did. How many times have I screwed up a tender moment by going directly for the “kill” or for the blame game?
As a parent, I so often want to nip the behavior in the bud but I miss out on the chance to learn and be open to His love pouring through me. If I blast into my kid about the candy and how sneaky and deceitful it was will not only cause shame but hiding. I don’t want my kids to hide. I want them to feel seen and heard, even in the not so smart choices. It’s really a deeper call into our own hearts and relationship with our Father. He longs for you to come before Him, naked and vulnerable and honest. That’s where the heart change comes.
REBEL ON- the struggle is worth it. -Kristin Chadwick