I noticed that one of my kids, in particular, has been very defensive. I ask him to pick up his socks and he says, “I’m sorry, all right?!!” I tell him he can’t whack his brother, and he says, “Fine, then! I wasn’t even hurting him!”

So, I had a talk with him. I said, “When I correct you, I’m not trying to hurt you. I want what’s best for you! Do you believe that I want you to be happy?” His frustrated expression gave his answer: No, he’s not convinced of this.

I decided to try something new. I told him that he has permission at any time to ask me, “Mom, are you just trying to hurt me?” or “Are you trying to put me down?”

I’ve heard those questions at least a dozen times this week, and you know what? I realized that sometimes I am trying to put him down and shame him into conformity. This makes me so sad, but it makes me happy, too! Sad, because this is not the way that Jesus responds to me, nor the way he wants me to parent. But happy, because each time, I’ve had the opportunity to apologize, and make things right with my son.

I feel like I do the bulk of my parenting in the summer months. You, too? Let’s redeem the sunny hours, and represent Jesus well to our kids.

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