Words of Hope: Wisdom

My dad had wisdom that resulted in practical ways to live. Before he died, I asked him about a parent who had a young child acting out in preschool— hitting others and disobeying the teacher. The parent felt overwhelmed. I asked Dad what he would do. Dad paused thoughtfully, and then he said, “I would realize my daughter was angry and also that she doesn’t have clear and consistent boundaries. This lack of boundaries creates ego and anger. Parenting is hard work, so we say no in reaction to bad behavior, say no halfheartedly, or give in some of the time, then we get mad and overreactive other times. This inconsistency creates confusion, entitlement, and a child running and managing the parent’s emotions. This child knows that her parent has no authority over her actions. She can do what she wants. Unconsciously this is sad for a child because she has more power than someone responsible for her safety and wellbeing. The child is provoked to wrath by her parent’s inability to set appropriate boundaries and be a person of wisdom and safety. This problem changes as a parent begins to understand the balance of power and love. Love without power is not loving but anemic. This parent must find a wise mentor and create a parenting plan with weekly accountability to follow through.”

Wise words from my dad. Dad could see to the heart of the issue. He found this wisdom through believing and taking the messages of scripture seriously and applying them fully. Many people become fixated on one passage of scripture but are blind to others. Many men focus on what women should do or what children should do and miss this crucial verse: “Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath — do not exasperate your children.” Dad worked hard to listen and learn from his children how to do this well. He made us the measurement. Did we feel provoked or exasperated by him? Were we angry children? If so, what did he need to change?

Thank you, Dad, for being a wise and loving father who listened well.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:3