“Mom, have you ever done anything bad?”
I remember when I first asked that question of my parents. They got squirmy real fast and tried to change the subject to something else. As an eight year old I was able to catch on to what they were doing and their uncomfortability at my question. So I did what any eight year old would do…kept asking. What came out of that question was an atmosphere of honesty and openness between me and my dad that I would not trade for anything. There are certainly appropriate times for parents to disclose certain things about their past, and there may even be things that child will not need to ever hear about. As with any experience, our stories are full of teachable moments. When we see choices our kids make and are reminded of a poor decision we once made, what an excellent opportunity for children to see that parents do make mistakes and that it is ok to talk about them with their kids. Children tend to think that since the parents set the rules, the parents obey the rules. If having a conversation with your child about a time you broke the rules frightens you, think about the benefits to your relationship when they feel that the communication lines are open regarding mistakes they make. Children may understand that there will still be consequences but they will be more willing to accept them knowing that you as a parent can relate. Below are some tips for opening the communication doors to your past. I hope you will strive to use your stories and experiences as teachable moments for your children.
Taking It Home
Share a time with your child when you:
1. Were surprised by God as a child
2. Failed a friend
3. Saw your parent’s faith in action
4. Learned from a mistake
5. Learned from someone else’s mistake.
Here is an interesting quote from My Utmost for His Highest.
Never be afraid when God brings back your past. Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. God will turn what might have been into a wonderful lesson of growth for the future.
Sometimes the hurt from our past is something that we try to stifle and push down so its harm can no longer, “have its way with us.” What vivid imagery to describe the effects that our shame and hurt possesses sometimes. Chambers says this is a minister of God. Its difficult to think sometimes that any minister of God would want to surface some repressed hurt from our past. But, at times, this is necessary. When God brings back your past, let your memory have its way with you. How is God trying to minister to you through the pain, the hurt, and the shame which you have tried to suppress?