We are studying the Doctrine of Sin on Sunday mornings at church and today's verses, Genesis 3:8-9 hit home with me in regards to how we deal with our children and reprimanding them for mistakes and misbehavior.
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?'." -Genesis 3:8-9
How often do we react in anger and frustration when our children sin? I know in my house, more often than not, we quickly react with angry words, raised voices and negative attitudes to our children's transgressions. But God did not react that way to Adam and Eve...he was calm and quiet. He sought them out and gently asked "Where are you?"...knowing full well they were hiding in shame. Should we not treat our children the same way? Calmly and gently seeking them out, clearly explaining what their transgression was and firmly applying appropriate consequences.
Proverbs 22:3 says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Training means to teach and explain, to educate; we must gently teach our children the correct way to live by calm and firm reinforcement. Ephesians 6:4 tells us "and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Anger breeds more anger and eventually resentment. If we react to our children, who are young and impressionable, with anger, that is what we will teach them and eventually they will grow to resent us for it.
I was troubled by an episode I recently witnessed between a mother and small child where the child came to her mother with tears of remorse for something she had done wrong and her mother's response was to react by spewing words of anger at her. Later, after putting the child in time out, the mother was kind and sweet explaining that the child had done wrong and had to pay the consequences of her actions. But I wonder what lesson that child really learned? I am by no means judging anyone for how they choose to parent or punish their children and I am certainly guilty of reacting with angry words, but seeing it outside of my home brought my own transgression of anger into clear focus.