Thursday, August 19, 2010
"A well controlled passionate personality is a powerful thing. That is what dangerous women are made of. But a passionate personality that is unbridled can cause a world of damage...."
This quote is from a post by one of Nancy Wilson's daughters (Rachel) on the blog, Femina. It got me thinking.
It's too easy as a parent to play defense when it comes to training our children. In the battle for their souls we too often wait to let their sin natures make the first move. We feel like we're playing whack-a-mole: "There's a sin!" *whack!* *whack!* But the sins keep popping up. And both we and our children only end up frustrated and confused.
While Rachel's little boy is pretty straightforward, her four little girls have abounding emotions. Often when they disobey or sin it is because of an emotion that has gone unchecked. Addressing their behavioral sin without addressing the emotions that led to it leaves the girls with emotions they don't know how to handle. Rachel and her husband are playing offensive, though, and have come up with an analogy to help their daughters control their emotions before their emotions control them.
"We tell our girls that their feelings are like horses—beautiful, spirited horses. But they are the riders. We tell them that God gave them this horse when they were born, and they will ride it their whole life....When our emotions act up, it is like the horse trying to jump the fence and run down into a yucky place full of spiders to get lost in the dark. A good rider knows what to do when the horse tries to bolt—you pull on the reins! Turn the horse’s head! Get back on the path!"
Little girls need riding lessons to learn how to keep those spirited horses in check. And they need the security of knowing their parents will help pull them back.
My girls are pretty little, but already I can tell that Lucy is blessed with a "passionate personality." We named her after a bad guy slaying woman of valor and we want her to be a "dangerous woman" who will not be afraid to accomplish great things with her life. But wild horses don't win races and an untrained spirit will leave little but hurt and destruction in its path.
Rachel's post inspired me to look past the hitting and taking and yelling and whining, to figure out what emotions have gone unchecked to cause these sins, and to play offensive as I train my children. There's so much these little ones need to know about living like Christ and it can't all be taught with the business end of a spanking spoon.
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