What happens when kids who expect wrath get grace instead?
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Mark was beside himself. After midnight, he received a call from the neighbors where his son, Jake, was spending the night with their son.
Jake and his buddy had snuck into the parents’ liquor cabinet and sampled several types of alcohol.
Mark took several deep breaths as he drove to the neighbors’ house to pick up his intoxicated eighth grader at one a.m.
The furious dad had some choice words all ready to yell, but when Jake got in the car, Dad just stayed quiet for some reason. Mark wondered where this self-control was coming from.
The next morning, a sickly looking and bleary-eyed Jake finally asked his dad, “Aren’t you going to yell at me?” He was bracing himself for a loud and forceful lecture.
Mark remembered (and repeated) something he had heard in a Love and Logic class, “I can’t think of anything I could say to make you feel worse than you must already feel. I love you.”
After some thinking, Mark decided Jake could make up for his time and inconvenience for the late-night pick-up by completing some extra chores. Jake also agreed he needed to send an apology card to the neighbors with money for the alcohol the boys had taken.
Seven years later, Jake gave a short speech on the day he was promoted to the rank of sergeant in the military. He mentioned his dad and how much he loved and respected the man. He briefly told the story of his own incredibly foolish behavior one night in eighth grade. Jake almost teared up as he recalled the time his dad gave him grace when he was expecting wrath.
“What was most important to my dad was that I owned my mistakes and learned from them to become a better person.”
Is it possible that when kids are expecting big, bad wrath from us, receiving grace and kindness (while still holding them accountable) could be even more powerful?
Jim Fay - BiographyThanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Jedd Hafer


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