“Understand largely, change is a process, not an event. God called me…to commit myself to 10,000 conversations, 10,000 moments.”
– Paul David Tripp
As I am writing this, I’m listening to Solid Gold Oldies…because I am an Oldie. Therefore, I know almost every word to every song. Although it is rare to find truth in any of them, one was descriptive–Yakety Yak by the Coasters, expressing a universal conversation between a parent and teen.
“Take out the papers and the trash, or you don’t get no spending cash.”
“Get all that garbage out of sight or you don’t go out Friday night.”
“Don’t you give me no dirty looks… don’t talk back.”
Even though we understand our place as change agents in our children’s lives, we often feel stuck in the everyday management, instruction, and correction. When our children are young, we typically cover the same material over and over again, making it feel like a daily version of “yakety-yak yakety-yak.”
Several months ago, we asked a group of parents of young children what the most wearisome part of parenting was. Nearly every one of them said: repetition. Some added: without seeing results.
With four young boys in our home, one of them could not walk through the living room without getting hit by a flying object, tripped, or wrestled to the floor. The question, “Why did you hit (trip, pinch, tackle) your brother?” was not just asked once then put to rest for life. It was addressed hundreds of times. (Now we are amused and enjoy when these four boys, ages 33, 35, 38, and 40, are in a swimming pool together and revert to 10 year olds. And, yes, sometimes they still throw the football in the house.)
I recently listened to a series of interviews on Family Life Today with Paul David Tripp. You can listen here. In the “Parenting with Mercy” interview, he discussed commitment to our children and said the following…
“Understand largely, change is a process, not an event. God called me … to commit myself to 10,000 conversations, 10,000 moments … Let me say it this way… I think this is so important to get hold of … if your eyes ever see and your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, and failure of your children, it’s never an accident, it’s never an interruption, it’s never a hassle – it’s always grace. God loves that child. He’s put him in a family of faith, and He will reveal the need of that child to you so you can be God’s tool of redemptive rescue and help. That’s parenting!”
Our task as parents is not merely to change behavior. It is always directed toward this goal: to help our children recognize sin, find the remedy in Christ, and receive his grace and forgiveness. They will need this understanding the rest of their lives.
The commitment Cheryl and I made when our sons were first placed in our arms kept us from losing heart—the commitment to shape not only their behavior but their understanding. Our awareness of our child’s sin was no accident. It was an opportunity. Grace can only be made visible in failure.
Your children will struggle with sin their entire life. You are there along the way during their childhood, through 10,000 plus conversations, to be God’s tool of redemptive rescue and help.
Grace can only be made visible in failure.