TLP 106: The Rock, the Bread, and the Donut | why we give our kids things, Part 1
You would never feed your child a rock would you? Are you sure? Join AMBrewster today as he unveils the unfortunate Rocks in our parenting. We may love giving our kids things, but we should never give them Rocks!
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I hope you enjoyed our last episode with Natasha Crain. She’s doing such a powerful work because she’s puts right into our hands that which often seems to be out of our reach.
Well, today I pray we continue fulfilling our mission to glorify God by serving and equipping Christian parents. We want so badly for you to become an intentional, premeditated, Ambassador parent. If you haven’t yet heard all of our episodes, you can go to TruthLoveParent.com and check out our podcast tab. There you’ll find all of our episodes broken up in various ways. We have top ten lists, we have the seasons listed out, but we also have the episodes collected into categories. So, whether it’s our episodes on Parenting 101 or sexuality or our holiday episodes like the recent one on trick-or-treating, you can find them there. And those categories are sure to continue growing as we collect a group of episodes that compliment each other well.
And, before we continue, I’d like to encourage you to like us on Facebook and Twitter. And if you join The TLP Family, you’ll get access to our closed Facebook group. We have a good start, but we could definitely use those of you who like to post on social media. The group is a little quiet right now. I’m assuming that’s because their homes are awesome or they just don’t have any questions or prayer requests at the moment. However, I think perhaps maybe we all just need to stretch our openness-muscles and practice a little transparency. How can we pray for you if we don’t know the struggles you’re going through?
Anyway, please consider joining The TLP Family. You can learn all about that at TruthLoveParent.com.
Okay, so today’s show has a unique name. It’s called, “The Rock, the Bread, and the Donut.” It kind of sounds like an ancient morality tale like Stone Soup or something, but it’s not. It’s actually a principle I’ve based off Matthew 7 and Proverbs 30.
And the funny thing is, this has been the hardest episode for me to write. You can ask my wife, I have written and rewritten this entire episode at least five times.
Part of the problem was that there’s just too much amazing information, and the episode would be too long
Part of the problem is that though this isn’t a new idea, it’s one we don’t use as often as we should, so it may be very unfamiliar to many of us, and I didn’t want to speed through it.
So, in the end, last Saturday — in fact — I decided to break it up into a short, three-part series.
This has been helpful to a number of homes I’ve worked with, I use it in my own home, and I believe it can be a helpful tool in your home.
Before we begin breaking down “The Rock, the Bread, and the Donut,” we need to discuss the things we give our kids.
We give our kids everything. From their genetic makeup to their clothes and food to their Christmas gifts, without us, our children wouldn’t have anything. And for children whose parents have abandoned them, they must receive everything they have from someone else or they won’t survive.
I think it’s interesting that human infants are so completely vulnerable and unable to do anything on their own. Most animals and birds and fish, the creature is pretty self-sufficient in a relatively short period of time. And if they still rely on their parents, at least they can move around on their own way before we humans can.
I believe God made it work this way for a reason. We need a reminder that we’re fragile, finite, needy, and dependent. The parent and child relationship is supposed to mirror our relationship with God. And — as a side note — when we don’t mirror that relationship, we’re doing our children an infinite disservice.
Okay, so we all know our kids are dependent on us for everything — at least early on — and we pray that they mature and become less dependent on us as they grow. However, our desire to give things to our children will likely outlive us. One of the last things our children will receive from us will be bequeathed to them from our wills.
And this is such a normal part of the human experience that I don’t believe we think about it the way we should. It’s almost like we go into autopilot when it comes to giving unless the item costs more than usual.
Yet regardless of what we give our children, everything falls into one of two categories:
This idea is illustrated in Matthew 7:7-11 “‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’”
Now, first we need to establish that the original context of these verses is not specifically geared toward parenting. He mentions the family relationship for the reason we discussed earlier — God’s showing the natural parallels in our physical and spiritual relationships. So, this passage is here to teach us that we can feel free to ask God for whatever we need or want if it glorifies Him.
But there is an important parenting principle couched in this passage.
I love the tone Jesus used when He asks: “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” I don’t see too many people in Jesus’ audience raising their hands.
As you can imagine — for the sake of our parenting lesson — Rocks are the things we give our kids that don’t glorify God. And Bread are the things we give our children that do glorify God.
So, we’re going to discuss the Rocks today, the Bread next time, and we’ll finish off talking about the Donuts.
Now, you may be thinking, “Aaron, obviously no one is going to give their child a rock when she asks for bread. Do you really think we need a whole episode about this?”
Yeah. Yeah I do.
Let’s be brutally honest about our parenting here for a minute. All of us give our kids things that don’t glorify God. I know I do. I give my kids way too many Rocks. And I’m not talking about the parents out there who encourage their children’s drug habits and flagrant sexuality. Likely none of them are listening to this show. But — you know what — we try to give them bad things all the time.
Remember this, sin falls into two categories: sins of commission, and sins of omission. There are times I deliberately give my children Rocks, and there are other times I forget to give them Bread . . . and that’s a Rock too. Therefore, if I do something the Lord has commanded me not to do, I’ve given my children a Rock. But if I neglect to do something He’s commanded me to do, I’m giving them a Rock too.
Here are two examples:
God commands us not to provoke our children to wrath. We may not actually place a rock on our children’s plates at dinner time, but when we provoke our kids to wrath, we’re hurling Rocks at them. Despite the fact that they need Bread, we’re giving them what they don’t need, we’re sinning against them, and we’re not glorifying God.
But what about the command from Deuteronomy we studied in episode 92? If I choose not to take the Truths of God and teach them diligently to my children, and talk of them when I sit in my house, and when I walk by the way, and when I lie down, and when I rise, them I’m not only omitting what God commanded me to do, but I’m also replacing it with my own failed substitutes. Our kids need the Bread of Life, and we’re giving them the Rocks of our own weak opinions. We treat our grandma’s pithy proverbs as Gospel. We quote song lyrics and Disney movies to our kids more often then we minister the Bible to them. We toss whatever fortune cookie dad and mom-isms pop into our brains in the moment. Those are all Rocks.
Here are some more examples:
They ask for our quality time, and we give them our leftovers. I know, people argue that you don’t need to give your kids quantity time if you’re giving them quality time, but my friends, you know as well as I do that the quality time is only found in the quantity time. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. Relationships languish and die without sufficient and intimate time spent together.
This is especially difficult for dads. Before moving to Victory Academy, I left to teach school before the kids were awake and they often only had an hour or two with me in the evening before they went to bed. Now, they were young, but I don’t think that certain ages of children “need” us more than others when it comes believing that we love them. Older kids may want to do other things with their time, but our moments of investment are just as important. They still need us.
If you sign up for our “25 Days to Becoming a Premeditated Parent” course — which right now is free — we take a couple lessons discussing the importance of family time, how to schedule it, and how to make it beneficial. We can’t wing this an d expect it to work. We need a plan. We need to be intentional and premeditated. Most of us don’t improvise well . . . at all.
So, not only do we toss the Rock of insufficient time at our kids, we also give them Rocks in the foods they eat. Now, I know that what I’m about to say won’t make me very many friends. For some reason, preachers and teachers and counselors are allowed to talk about adultery, drugs, marriage, drinking, poor spending habits, sexual issues, and parenting problems, but we’re not allowed to talk about the foods we eat or the foods we give our children.
Listen, my friends, that type of thinking is a Failure Philosophy and delusional living. I Corinthians 10:31 deliberately takes the highest calling each of have — giving all honor and praise and glory to God through Whom and to Whom and for Whom we’re created — and applies it to the foods we eat.
Gluttony is dealt with many times in Scripture. Moderation and self-control are also big-ticket items in the Bible. And don’t forget that the verses we go to convince our children they shouldn’t smoke marijuana or play in the snow without a coat applies to the food that goes into our bodies. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
Ladies and gentlemen, they ask for sustenance, and we give them a steady diet of foods that will hurt their health. We cannot say we’re parenting to the glory of God if we allow our kids to eat so much food that they’re dangerously overweight. We’re not pleasing the Lord if our child is a diabetic because we didn’t limit his sugar intake. We’re not honoring God if we’re allowing our daughter to starve herself to fit a social mold. We’ll pelting our children with spiritual Rocks.
Sure, they may ask to eat all their Halloween candy the very next day, but letting them do so is not kind. It’s not Christ-honoring.
Alright, I’m going to move on from this food talk, but we have to honest with ourselves, and this whole you’re-not-allowed-to-talk-about-what-we-eat-in-our-home thing is a sacred cow in the Body of Christ that needs to be slaughtered post haste. And then it needs to be turned into a cheeseburger. Just sayin’. :-)
Alright, moving on . . . we also give our children Rocks when we allow them to hang out with bad influences. I know it’s hard to know all of your children. And honestly, I’m not suggesting that you grill and interrogate every child your kid calls a friend. But there’s a spiritual tightrope that must be walked.
On one side, you need to train your kids to choose godly friends. By the way, I think it’s kind of funny when we’re surprised that our ungodly children don’t want to hang our with godly kids. I don’t want to make light of this, but I’ve had many parents tell me they don’t understand why their rebellious doesn’t want to hang out with the kids from the youth group. Well . . . .
So, while you’re trying to rear your children to love God and love those who love God, you also need to acknowledge the fact that they will need help choosing godly friends just like they needed help choosing outfits that matched . . . and weren’t put on backwards. Your children are not going to innately succeed in the relationship arena. At every age they’re generally going to make poor choices when it comes to the kids they want to hang out with.
So, we do need to be part of this process. We should know our kids closest friends. Our kids and those kids should enjoy hanging out with us. These children are going to influence our children, and if we send them out to go wherever they want to go and do whatever they want to do, we often won’t realize hoe bad of an influence they were until it’s too late. I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Unfortunately, there are other Rocks we toss at our kids. We give them Rocks when we allow them to enjoy forms of entertainment that displease the Lord. Episodes 14, 23, and 24 are all about helping our kids glorify God in their entertainment.
This may sound obvious to some, and for others it may seem very subjective, but there is plenty of biblical data and much more well-studied, argued, and applied teaching available from godly men. My point is, I’m not saying it’s a sin for your children to watch the Disney channel, but I am saying that you’re potentially giving your children Rocks when you blindly allow them to ingest whatever they please simply because it “looks okay.”
My family and I enjoy some of Tim Burton’s claymation. Admittedly, in an otherwise clean Tim Burton movie there are Failure Philosophies through which my kids and I have to work. But I was very unhappy when I got to the end of the Burtonesque styled movie called ParaNorman and one of the main characters came out as being gay.
What happens when stuff like that occurs and the parents aren’t there to help their children interpret that information in light of God’s Word. The movie has shown this character in a positive light. We’re cheering for the character. We may even want to be like the character. And then when the character comes out as gay, it’s celebrated. Our kids have to decide whether to accept their version of reality or not. That’s why we talked about how your kids need an interpreter in episode 104.
Do you know the content of your children’s music? Do you know what they’re watching and reading?
Be careful that you’re not allowing them to chew on Rocks because you haven’t don't due diligence to protect your kids from Failure Philosophies.
And the last example I’m going to give today is this: we’re guilty of giving our kids Rocks when we model sinful lifestyles for them.
If I snap at my kids when they annoy me, why shouldn’t they snap at people who annoy them? If I eat whatever I want, why shouldn’t they? If I live my life with little attention to God’s Word or desire to glorify Him, what’s to make them think they should live any differently?
Listen, in I Timothy 5:8 while discussing how we should care for our elderly parents, Paul says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
The Rocks we toss at our kids when they need Bread are things that don’t glorify God. We need to give our children Bread because it falls under the category of “Things that Glorify God.”
Please check out Taking Back the Family for today’s episode more and definitely be in prayer about this whole notes situation. As easy as it should be to post free downloadable PDF notes on Weebly, they’re unnecessarily complicating the issue by limiting our options. So, for now, the notes are being posted on the page as a JPEG so you don’t have to mess around with that unfortunate Scribd debacle.
And don’t miss our next episode which will detail what this Bread is, and — like today — don’t be so certain you know exactly what things glorify God. You may be surprised to learn that there are things we think our kids need . . . when actually they don’t.
Don’t forget to connect with us on social media. And if you “Like” us on Facebook, be sure to click on the “Following” option and select “See First.” Facebook is trying to make it hard for you to see our content without us paying for you to see it. But when you select “See First,” you will definitely see the things we post.
And, as always, feel free to contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com if you have any questions or concerns about your family. You can also join the TLP Family at TruthLoveParent.com which will give you access to our closed Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your prayer requests, and find help from other premeditated parents.
When we believe God’s Truth, none of us would want to give our kid’s Rocks. But as we learned in The Merest Christianity study, we don’t always believe God the way we should. When we call Him a liar and live the way we want, it’s a guarantee we’ll give our kids very little Bread, and plateful of gravel.
But there’s hope. God is actively at work in us to make us Ambassador Parents that serve our children fresh, warm Bread from our Daily Bread — the Bible.
Have a great day!
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