A Bag of Doritos for a Broken Spirit

That is what went through my head over the weekend; and I thought to myself, “I stood silent when I could have said something.”

On Saturday, myself and the girls went to pickup some groceries at Wal-Mart along with 90% of those living in metro Atlanta. See, we had a “snow storm” brewing and the local news was prepping us for a potential 4-6 inches late Sunday night. You know what that means, right? Everyone scurries to their local grocer and buys 8 gallons of milk and 3 loaves of bread. Needless to say, the store was packed! We did our shopping and went to check out. That day, however, the lines were insane and we had to wait 25 minutes just to check out.

While waiting, there was a mother and son ahead of us. Right before we got in line apparently the little boy, maybe 8 yo, did something to anger his mother. The mother then proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes with her finger pointed at her son, explaining that he messed up and he wasn’t behaving like some of the other children waiting in line, even threatening to take his bag of Doritos away if he didn’t stop crying. Meanwhile the little boy was teary-eyed, his lip was quivering, and he was constantly shielding his face in embarrassment. What made me even more upset was that the boy couldn’t speak up for himself. He was using sign language and struggling to communicate his way through the situation. I didn’t know the entire story, but regardless, I was heartbroken for the kid. I wanted to speak up and say, “Child, you are worth it! You are important!” My heart ached for his spirit.

I was reminded that even in our sin, even in our depravity, Jesus advocates on our behalf. Even when we are unworthy to speak up for ourselves, he is on our side. He is above everything, knows everything, and accepts us nonetheless.

…we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)

In our moments of deepest exasperation as parents, do we choose to leverage the respect and diminish the honor of our children, for our own vengeance? It would be all too easy to look upon this woman with contempt and judgement, but to truly search our hearts in humility, and in light of  Christ’s sacrifice is a far more humbling thing. How am I affirming and encouraging my children’s spirit and character? How can I show them that I will stand up for them on their behalf? How do I advocate for them at such a young age? As leaders of our households, lets engage readily, act promptly, and advocate constantly.

In what ways have you stood up for your spouse/kids?

Photo credit: Chelsea Rose

An Early Lesson In Grace

Over our Christmas/New Years holiday we put a few things down in our calendar that we wanted to do with the kids: watch some Disney movies, go to a local indoor playplace, and use a giftcard that we had for Coldstone. Disney movies are cute and all, and those indoor bouncy places are great for wearing down the munchkins, but the ice cream was what I was personally looking forward to. I mean, who doesn’t love French Vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, cookie dough, fudge, and caramel all mixed together in heavenly goodness? Needless to say, I was looking forward to it.

Our plan was to head out after dinner, so we began our evening in the same fashion as we always did. Our kids eat everything, so we weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary before heading out for our family-date. But something happened: our 3-yr old would not eat her food. We aren’t ones to force feed, or assist her with the fork, simply because we know that she can feed herself. And when she didn’t want to touch her food we knew that some discipline needed to be involved.

We tried being patient and affording her a little extra time to eat her dinner. We tried a couple discipline methods like moving her food away for a few minutes so she could refocus, but we were stuck in the same spot. In my head I’m saying, “Just eat your food, so we can go to Coldstone!” But there we were, much later than we hoped for, and she had only eaten a fraction of what we wanted her to eat (our 19 mo ate 3 helpings!). What do we do? Follow through with what we said (no ice cream) or “give in” and potentially encourage behavior like this (where we knew that she knew that she was being disobedient)? 

We opted for option 3. After dinner, I pulled her aside and explained the situation. Jen and I both realized that we could use this as a mini-grace lesson in her life. Even in a small example as this one, we were reminded of the grace that our Father gives to us each and every day. In that moment, we knew that our daughter realized her error, yet her heart was still hard (she did not want to obey/eat). But the bigger idea we wanted to communicate was that God extends grace to us everyday and we wanted to show grace to her in this situation. We believe that in the moments of discipline or hard-heartedness, our hearts can be softened by the revelation of the grace our Father. So, when I pulled her aside and talked through the situation, I did my best to communicate that.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

Is it too early to talk about this stuff when she may not fully grasp what we were trying to communicate? Maybe. But in the end, our hope that these seeds take root early in her life even though we may not see the fruit of them until later in her life. And, yes – we enjoyed the family ice cream date!

At and early age or not, how do you communicate lessons like this to your children?

Photo credit: Ultrateg

Welcome To Abraham Chronicles!

Abraham Chronicles Launches Today!

For the last two months I’ve been brainstorming, designing, and dreaming up what this site was going to look like. Ladies and Gents, I present to you AbrahamChronicles.com! The design side is still a work-in-progress, but its moving forward! Snazzy, huh? Okay, let’s move on.

First off, thanks for stopping by — I really mean that!

If you know me, you know my family is a integral part of my life. I talk about my wife and kids, I tweet about them, and even make silly dance videos with them. I wanted to create space for myself to share my story and learnings with you (yes, you!). Cue… Abraham Chronicles. Why Abraham? There’s a story behind that, so feel free to read about it here. In the end, my vision is for this place to serve as a small community to share, learn, mess up, and grow together — as dads, parents, and followers of Christ.

So, grab a cup of coffee and take a seat! Let’s learn how to do this thing we call parenthood together.