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One of the things I like most about going to the park with my daughters is watching the other parents. I like watching how they relate to their children. One honestly, because it can be kind of funny, but two and more importantly because I think it helps me better see me.
I mean, some of things that other people do with their children seem so obviously wrong until you stop and look at your own life and then well, it's not quite as obvious as it seemed at first.
I see a mom whose little boy has just hit his sister. She grabs him by the arm and takes him over to say he's sorry. Now, that's a pretty good start. At least she makes a move to do something. I'll give her a break and not get into the whole ask for forgiveness thing.
He looks at the ground and mumbles, "Sorreeeee…"
Mom looks at son and angrily tells him, "Say it like you mean it."
Now I think I've probably said something similar to that at one point or another, but looking at it from the outside, you've got to admit it is a pretty funny thing to say. Like suddenly, because you are glaring at your child and telling him to mean it, he's going to.
I don't think so.
You know what he's going to do? He's going to do exactly what you asked…he's going to say it like he means it. In other words, he's going to pretend like he means it.
Listen, I know I didn't need any training on being fake and neither did you. Our children certainly don't. I'm not sure I have all the answers for the absolute best way to respond in situations like this at the park, you can ask Poppa Mack about that – he's got way more experience, but I know for sure I don't want to train my children to take short cuts in repentance and I don't want to be satisfied with taking short cuts myself.
I'm going to get on my knees and ask God to help me mean it…and I'm going to try to teach my children to do the same.