If grace is also truth, then grace is a great and powerful model for parenting. The word “grace” actually means unmerited favor from God, meaning, we don’t get what we deserve but we get the kingdom of God.
This is a virtue from God, meaning we are approved by God, He wants you. He wanted you so much, He gave His Son to get you back in His arms.
What does this definition have to do with parenting?
I was teaching on the The Cycles from my book Remember Who You Are at a conference in New Zealand in April 2013 and near the end of the conference a women named Dawn came up to me and asked a great question preceded by a statement.
Here was her statement and question.
“I have dealt with weight issues all of my life and so does my thirteen year old daughter. I don’t think I am shaming her into losing weight. As a matter of fact I am so sensitive to shaming her, I am sure I am not shaming her into losing weight. My question for you Ken is, how do I get my daughter to lose weight without shaming her?”
I asked her, “How do you talk to her about her weight?”
She gently responded, “Well, I say to my daughter, I love you Maddy, I really do. Both you and I fight with weight issues and I don’t want you to suffer like I have, I want you to feel healthy, so both of us need to eat better. I really do love you Maddy.”
I said, “I can tell you care about her and love her”.
“Oh I do, I really do! I don’t want her to suffer the same shame I have suffered growing up and even in adulthood,” she exclaimed.
I thought for a moment and then I said to her, “I want to speak to you using the same words you used and I want you to be honest with me and let me know how these words make you feel.”
“OK, I am listening,” she sheepishly responded.
As gently as possible I said to her, “I love you, Dawn, I really do. Both you and I fight with weight issues and I don’t want you to suffer like I have. I want you to feel healthy, so both of us need to eat better. I really do love you, Dawn.”
I could tell by the look on her face, something was triggered!
I asked her, “How did my statement make you feel, honestly?”
In tears she said, “I feel shamed. I feel like you’ll love me if I lose weight!”
I told Dawn, “Guess how your daughter receives your statement?”
“The same as I just did!” Dawn continued, “I have never wanted to shame her, but I can tell I was shaming her into losing weight.” In more tears she cried out, “ I don’t want her to feel abuse from her family and friends, it hurt me so bad, and it’s not fair that she should receive the same.”
After a few moments she was beginning to relax. Then I was able to encourage her. I said, “I know you love your daughter and no loving parent intentionally wants to shame their children.” I added, “ Why don’t you just tell her you love her, period, throughout the day, multiple times per day. Write her notes telling her, “Maddy, I love you, you make me proud, Mom”, and place them in the sack lunch she takes to school. Place those same notes in her dresser drawers, tape them to the mirror in the bathroom and so on.”
Grace Is Not Difficult
Grace is as simple as “Maddy, I love you, you make me proud, Mom.” Grace is not difficult for us as parents and is certainly not difficult for God.
But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me–and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT)
Sometimes we forget who we are and we attempt to change people, when in fact we are incapable of changing anyone. God is the changer of lives and God will change little Maddy, as she knows He loves her unconditionally and her Mom loves just the same.
Question of the day
What is God saying to you concerning His “grace” and your “grace” to others?