What do children think when you hide alcohol in the house? Dad must be hiding it because he doesn’t want anybody to know it’s there. Why? Is it wrong? Maybe we should try it. You know that’s the thought process.
In my home, my sons will know where the beer is. I’ll tell them, “The beer is in the refrigerator. You can’t have it. You’re not old enough to drink. But it’s right there. In fact, I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go get me a beer. I’m old enough to drink, so go get me one, please.” I want them to be able to go get it, and hand it to me.
I’m not going to hide the fact that there’s alcohol in the house, because I want my sons to think, “Dad is being honest with us. Dad loves us and trusts us to know that there’s alcohol in the house. He’s not hiding anything.”
Sometimes kids have issues because their parents don’t want to address the reality of drinking. Instead they guilt their kids or scare their kids into not doing it. But that’s a problem, because then their kids only respect them out of fear or guilt, not love. That’s not how I want to raise my children.
I want my children to respect me. I’m hoping they respect me enough to know that they’re not allowed to drink. If I do catch them drinking, there will be some disciplinary action. Will I have to take the alcohol out of my house? I hope not. I would, if they’re not making wise decisions. But I’m not going to start my relationship off with my sons by hiding things. I won’t do it.
I don’t want my sons to look at me and say, “That’s my Dad who I respect because I’m scared of him.” If I have a daughter someday, I don’t want her to say, “That’s my Dad that I respect because I hate feeling guilty whenever I’m around him. I would rather obey him than feel guilty.”
I want my children to say, “That’s my Daddy. I love and respect him because he loves and respects me. He’s honest with me. I know I can talk to him any time about anything. He won’t fly off the handle and yell at me. He won’t guilt me into doing what’s right. We’re going to talk things out and I’m going to feel so calm around him that I’ll want to do what’s right, because I respect him.”
It’s the same way with Jesus. Some people say they love and obey Jesus because He’s God, but that might be putting it backwards. It’s because He loved me and died for me that I obey. Put another way, I don’t obey in order to be saved. I obey because I’m saved. That’s the relationship Jesus wants to have with us.
I don’t want my sons to look at me and say, “I respect you because you’re the father figure of our home.” I want them to say, “Dad, because you’re the nurturing father figure of our home, I respect you and I love you. I’m not obeying you because I’m afraid of you. I’m obeying you because I’m your son or I’m your daughter. You have done so much for me and you care for me, and I love you.”
That’s the reality that I want for my family.
I’m going to wrap up this short series on drinking with a few words for the churches. You won’t want to miss that. See you Friday.