Will They “Grow Out of It”?

I don’t know if you have read the book, Jeff, I think it’s called Raising Passionate Followers of Jesus.

Jesus Followers?

Yeah, Jesus Followers.

Alyssa loves that book.

It’s so good. Phil and Diane Comer. They raised John Mark Comer, which means that they can’t be all that bad. Lots of amazing tips in that book. And they had one that I just loved, and I think I’ve heard this before, but it really reminded me of, I think, something that a lot of dads need is motivation to be proactive in training your kids. And they have this basic rule, which they say, ask yourself, what will this behavior look like in 10 years? In other words, if your kids are whining or your kids are… Because I think the prevailing culture a lot of times says, look, they’ll grow out of it. Just kind of deal with it. Kids will be kids. And so there’s a real tension between that and I’ve just discovered a really important, I guess, topic or area to train in.

Their way of kind of thinking through that is to imagine, does this get worse over time? How have you guys thought about that? And what do you think of this idea of watch issues that are sort of popping up in your kids and imagining what that could look like if it was allowed to continue?

I think that’s solid, because I think, like you said, the prevailing cultural norm is just hold on and it’ll go away. There’s some stuff that I think actually does, which is really kind of… If you stay faithful, then the brain psychology and chemistry changes and you get through these seasons of just stay faithful to your your standards and values as a family.

But in general, with behavior type stuff, what happens is you might… How do I say this? The behavior might disappear, but the spirit and attitude won’t. So the spirit and attitude of a behavior, if you don’t challenge it, call it to account, or encourage it, or whatever, maybe it’s a hard or a soft thing, whatever it is, or heal it, whatever it is then it might disappear on the surface, but the same spirit will be around in a 16 year old or a 26 year old, that’ll come out in a different way.

I think about it like that. Not that necessarily like, your kid has tantrums now and so your kid will have tantrums when they’re 17, but think instead, that man, is there a spirit of just, I get what I want and if I don’t get what I want, I am ruthless or I can’t function or I don’t love. That’s the same spirit.

I think that’s a solid… There’s always those questions like that that bring you back to ground zero, that give you the right vision. They’re recalibrating questions, and this is a very, very incredible one.

When you say the spirit will persist potentially into the older years, I would say anything that kind of relates to a self-orientation and where a child is putting their desires, needs constantly above the family, that is something that I don’t think goes away magically as kids get older. I think selfishness is such a deep part of the human condition and is a part of the brokenness we have inherited, that without training, without really wooing their heart towards the family, towards serving, towards the Lord, I don’t think that a lot of these things don’t go away.

I think that’s a really good caveat to this tip. What will this behavior look like in 10 years? Think about what kind of culture you’re trying to create in your family, and then realistically imagine what this could look like in those 10 years, because that self-orientation does get more sophisticated. It can get even more corrosive, even though it may not be as socially unacceptable as what a toddler might do, it is still spiritually unacceptable and it will still erode the family culture. I encourage you guys to think about it that way.

All of this to say, that the main, I think, thrust of what I like about this tip is the motivation towards training as opposed to the motivation towards passivity. Dealing with issues instead of kind of letting them grow, fester, and hoping that they just go away.

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