Don’t bark back.

As a parent, I’m always trying to teach my kids some lesson or another.  We’re supposed to, right?  It says so right there on page 36 in the Parenting Manual (page 2 in the Cliff Notes version).

But it seems the more I talk, the less they listen.

Jesus has many names in the Bible.  Rabbi is one that I often forget.  It means teacher.

So after my kids had yet another conflict (which resulted in an episode of R.A.W. in our living room),  I decided to let God be the teacher for once.

I rang the bell, so they knew the round was over.  Sent them to their separate corners, and asked them to pray about their conflict.

Then I turned my parenting over to the Holy Spirit – I told my kids to listen.  They were instructed to set their timers for five minutes, sit still – and just listen to see what God had to say to them about their conflict.

Before my son’s timer went off, he came out of his room beaming.

He confessed that he initially thought my instruction was a waste of time, because “God never speaks to him.”  But then after he sat alone stewing for a bit, he heard a random dog barking outside.

And then he said it was quiet.

It was at that moment he knew what God was trying to say to him.

When that dog was barking in anger, the other dog didn’t bark back.  And that is what God wanted him to do when his sister barked at him in anger – don’t bark back!

That was a defining moment for him and his relationship with God.  God really will speak to us.  All we have to do is ask Him to, and then listen for what He’ll say – however He wants to say it.

And it was also a defining moment for me as a parent.  The Holy Spirit is a tad more qualified to speak to my kid’s heart than I am.  My job is to point them to God, and let Him do what He came to do.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” ~ John 14:26

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