Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Dr. Josh and Christi Straubs’ new study, Homegrown. Order your copy or see a free sample today at LifeWay.com/Homegrown. We’ve also included some fun, free downloads at the end of this post to celebrate this new study!
One of my closest friends, who is both gifted at and loves starting businesses, regularly discussed micro- and macroeconomics with his son growing up. As the loving father that he is, he uses business projects to train his son for the real world.
Recently, while on a year-long mission trip to Costa Rica as a family, he decided to help his son, who was sixteen at the time, earn money with a microfinancing project using an incredible woodworker in a local village. Not only would this project teach his son how to earn money, it would help the woodworker and the local economy as well.
As he told me about it, I could hear in his voice the excitement for his son. The further involved they got, the more passionate my friend became.
About a week later, my friend called me sounding unusually depressed. He said, “Josh, you know this project we’ve been working on? Well, my son looked at me and said, ‘Dad, this is your project with my name on it. If you want me to learn, let me do something that I’m passionate about.’”
I asked my friend how he responded. He said they went for a walk along the beach, and after listening to his son’s point of view, he looked at his son and said, “You know, you’re right. I’m sorry.”
My friend continued, “I asked him what he wanted to do. No rules applied. He told me he wanted to build a space hotel. So that’s where we started.”
What my friend realized was that even though his intentions were so incredibly good-willed, he actually did his son a disservice by overstepping his bounds and quarterbacking the project for him.
“I went from teaching him a lesson to letting him watch a lesson,” he concluded. “I realized how imperfect my actions can be even though my intentions for my kids may be pure.”
If you read the passage in 1 John 4, “perfect love drives out fear” (v. 18), and were left with the lingering thought in your mind, All of this perfect love and “parenting without fear” stuff is great, but I’m not God, that’s right where you need to be.
If we try to be perfect, then we’ll parent out of fear. If we think we should never make a mistake, we’ll make parenting choices out of fear. If we ebb and flow with the latest parenting technique and strategy, choosing to give time-outs this week and not give them the next, we’ll parent out of fear.
So let yourself off the hook now—you won’t parent perfectly.
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear. To put it simply, an unsafe environment instills fear. A safe environment rids itself of fear.
Just think of the fearful ways we react to our kids in stressful moments when they act out. Yelling. Blaming. Punishing. Shaming. Maybe even spanking out of anger. When we react to our kids out of the insecurities from our own stories, we do so from fear—fear of our kids turning out a certain way, fear of treating our kids the way our parents treated us, fear of losing control as a parent, or perhaps even fear of being seen as a bad parent.1
What are the fears you carry that inhibit your ability to love well? Perfectionism? A parental agenda?
What word best describes your current home environment: fearful, loving, authoritative, permissive, busy? Why did you choose that word?
When we as parents react to our kids out of fear, it’s not their misbehavior our kids are thinking about—it’s the fear of disconnection they feel from the person who is supposed to be the emotionally safest in their lives.2 This is how the tendency to recreate the cycle of fear is rooted in our own stories.3
Want to learn more about this new study? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at LifeWay.com/Homegrown.
And here are some fun wallpapers for your computer and phone! Click the images or links below to download!