We all like second chances. Today we went to the Spring Hill Country Ham Festival. All sorts of booths and vendors were set up. Many had little games for the kids similar to those you find at a carnival or a fair. When I play games like washers or hit the balloon with the dart, I always feel like I am going to do better the second time around. I heard a kid today ask if he could have a second chance at a game he’d not done so well on. When he continued to have some difficulty, he asked again, “Can I have a second chance?” I guess sometimes we need third chances…or fourths…
Krista and I decided a while back that in order for things to function well in our house, every now and then we need to be allowed by each other to have bad days. This does not mean we give each other free reign to disregard the feelings of family members. It simply means that every now and then, you have a bad day and an extra measure of grace is needed to simply get through.
With our children we decided we would start giving “Do-Overs.”
It’s probably not hard to believe that in the house with a kindergartener and a 2-year-old that we get the occasional scream between sisters. They are both quite good at it and didn’t seem to need much practice to perfect it. Often our curious toddler will decide to push the buttons of her older sister and the response is ear-deafening. Though we don’t always respond with a good example this is a prime situation to offer “Do-Overs.” We say to our five year old, “Wow, I am so sorry she treated you like that. Would you like a do-over on how you responded.” Our daughters know that we are much more likely to intervene if they have tried to work it out on their own and have been unsuccessful. We simply like for them to give it a go first. Perhaps we are catching a little back talk after we have asked them to do something. Simply asking, “Would you like to try that response again?” shows that we disapprove of their first response without them feeling like they are incapable of getting it right.
We feel this extra measure of grace every now and then is a good concrete way of helping them to understand something about God which is very abstract. I certainly do not understand everything about God’s grace. Giving “do-overs” to our girls gives us something that we can refer back to and even incorporate scripture. 2 Peter 3:9 says,
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. “
If we were to reword this as parents, it might read:
“Your parents are not slow in helping you succeed in life. They are patient with you, not wanting you to suffer, but to arrive at the right way to handle things.”
Usually if given the option of a do-over or a consequence kids will choose a do-over. It’s a great chance to share the great news of Jesus with them in the process. He has given you do-overs!