https://www.vatucson.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Christopher1.jpg 4256 2832 Christopher Barnes https://www.vatucson.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Logo-transparent-header-1.png Christopher Barnes2019-01-14 09:53:342019-02-11 10:05:18You're Not the Boss of Me!
You’re Not the Boss of Me! is often the cry of a diminutive child pushing back against an adult authority figure such as a parent or teacher. The little one is raising a big stink because he or she is not being allowed to have his/her own way. The underlying cause, however, is not unique to children. They just haven’t learned to hide this impulse that says, “I want to do, what I want to do, when I want to do it!”
From a theological standpoint, we might identify this as our sin nature — the part of me that is twisted or bent in such a way that I want to defy the rulership of God, even as it is experienced indirectly through rightful authority figures. We want to rule our world, however subtly.
So, how do I disciple my little anarchist? We found it personally challenging. We basically followed these steps:
- First, we discussed the issues together as parents and work things out so that we presented a united front. We learned it is best to delay while getting on the same page than to trot out new rules that had to be rescinded and revised.
- We then taught the agreed-upon clear expectations of boundaries and obedience.
- Next, we applied consistent consequences regardless of our personal tolerance. (We noticed that on days when we personally felt good, we could be lax. But if we weren’t feeling so hot, had a headache, or had stress from work, etc., we could become extra strict, extra touchy. We did not put up with things, even things about which there were no rules.)
- We followed up with teaching the mind on principles behind the rules we might have.
- And we’d especially teach on the reasonableness of authority. “Everybody has a boss,” we’d point out. It might be the government in regards to how we drive. It might be the boss at work. Or it might even simply be the expectations that we as adults have to function responsibly. Or the mutual need to respect our spouse’s needs and expectations.
Children tend to think, “When I get older, I won’t have to listen to anybody. I can stay up as late as I want and eat ice cream for breakfast.” As we got older, we discovered that this was a myth. Even when we tried to live like this, we were brought up short by how miserable a day we might have when becoming sleep deprived or experience the consequences physically of not caring for our bodies.
But most important was to train our children that they were not the boss of themselves either! This is rather shocking for us to realize. The other day my grandson did not wish to do something and he proudly proclaimed, “My bodies, my rules!” This has obvious applications in keeping him safe from others, but it was very faulty thinking.
We are not our own. We were handcrafted by God. As our Creator He has an overriding claim on all of us. Plus, as believers we have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. As we tried to live out this reality and teach it to our children, we prayed that they would see that their declaration of independence had a ring of truth that went deeper than their momentary rebellion against us.
It was true that we weren’t the boss of them. But they weren’t either. The only rightful ruler is the Lord Jesus Christ. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
May God give us the grace to live submitted to Jesus and model the submission that we want to see developed in our children. If we don’t live it, neither will they.