From Brad Habegger
My two daughters are 6 and 4. They're beautiful, funny, smart, and sweet (as I'm sure your kids are, too). And sometimes they roar. Literally and figuratively. One of them went through a phase of going around the house roaring like a lion.
Which is when it began. When I started asking the question: "Did God make you a lion?" At first it was met with a look of "what-kind-of-question-is-that" and a sheepish reply of "No?" But now it gets more of an eye roll and an annoyed, "No, Daddy." Because they know what's coming next: "Then He didn't make you to roar." (Said with a smile.)
Or when they're growling unkindness at each other: "Did God make you a bear?" "No, Daddy." "Then He didn't make you to growl." And most commonly, when they’re whining about food, clothes, chores, (you name it): "Did God make you a little puppy? Then He didn't make you to whine."
But the real purpose of these silly exchanges is the line and truth that follows. "Then He didn't make you to roar… Instead He made you a beautiful, funny and sweet girl." Or, "He made you in His own image." "He made you for the praise of His glory and the joy of all people." "He made you to love. To forgive. To worship. To serve."
And what started as a teachable moment for my girls also became a look in the mirror for me. I also was not made to roar, growl, or whine at my girls. Instead, I was made to reflect God to them. I was made to love them (unconditionally), train them, guard them, and provide for them. I want to speak God’s truth into my girls’ hearts, but I also want their eyes to see me genuinely living out what I’m saying. When I was at COCUSA, I remember telling the staff, "We can’t expect campers to do what we aren’t doing ourselves." The same is true with parents and children.
What are some silly (or serious) exchanges that you can turn into teachable moments with your kids? Are there areas in your own life that are inconsistent with what you are saying to your kids? If so, don’t beat yourself up. Take comfort in knowing that God is ready and willing to help you (and your kids). Ask Him to show you what He made you to be.
Brad Habegger is the Pastor of Children's Ministry at Grace Church in Morton, IL. He served as Executive Director at Camp of Champions USA for over a decade, and is still a great friend and supporter of the organization. Brad enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, playing basketball and tennis, and following the St. Louis Cardinals and college basketball.