How was your week? Mine has been a mixture of everything: wonderful moments (visiting our dear friends in Las Vegas for a long weekend) and busy moments (having to catch up with all my papers to grade). But each day I have seen that I have been given more grace than what I'd have ever expected. God is good.
In this chapter the authors stir us up to consider how are we to live in community in our homes with our adult children when they are staying home for a season and for the good reasons. Newheiser warns us that "we might be tempted to micromanage their day or fly off the handle..." I agree. And even through distance, even if our children are off in college, we may face this same temptation because we are only a "text away" from them.
The authors recognize that not all the children of parents reading this book are Christians, so they remind their readers that "through common grace even a non-Christian can learn how to work hard and live productively in a community." However, he also reminds us that we should never "lower our household standards to a level that would displease the Lord."
If we could summarize the suggestions the author gives us in the next part of the book we would have these main points:
1. Develop an open friendship with your children, so that they will be open to hearing our wise counsel when they ask for it (p.71). Maybe you can review your notes on chapter one as this was an important principle Newheiser laid clearly at the beginning of the book.
2. Parents must set expectations and make them known (p.72). And I particularly love that the author reminds us that "laying out these expectations is both wise and loving."
3. Expect them to be productive (p.72). Being lazy is a form of stealing, and not making the best use of our time is a sin. This sentence, in my opinion, summarizes the principle in a clear way:
"Rather that seeing a schedule as enslaving or as thwarting their creativity, our kids need to embrace it as the good means God has given, so that they might know the joy of accomplishing much for him (Prov.21:25)."
4. Young adults living at home should do an adult share of the housework (p.74). We have seen -and heard- this many times: children demanding to be respected and treated as adults but at the same time don't want the full package of what it means being an adult. They want the privileges only but not the responsibilities.
"One twenty-one-year-old told us that he had learned that "nothing kills work ethic and discipline more effectively than the welfare state of parental indulgence."
5. Establish reasonable moral standards (p.75). The reason, the motivation for this should be that we want to honor the Lord in our home. (Remember Eli and the way he neglected honoring God in his household?)
"We want to help our young people understand the difference between our negotiable house rules and timeless, biblical standards."
6. Nothing is more important for living in community with others than trust (p.77).
7. Failure to meet expectations must result in consequences (p.78). I have found through many conversations with friends that trying to avoid the consequences we, parents, find ourselves tempted to overlook the lack of meeting of the expectations we have established beforehand. We are may times so much like Eli. We forget that God cannot be mocked, sooner or later the consequences of all our sins will come.
6. Follow through (p.80).
"Discipline is hard work and often unpleasant. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet those who have been trained by it afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" /Heb.12:11). But we continue to discipline our children in the hope that God will work in their hearts to make them wise."
7. Get good, godly counsel from your pastor or trusted friend and cry out to God for the courage to do the best, most loving thing for your young adult (p.81).
I purposely left out the point in which the author says that, forcing or not an adult child living at home to go to church is a matter of personal conscience on the part of the parents. And I did so because I think that in this particular issue, the godly counsel of the pastor would always be necessary.
What about you? Thoughts?
May God give us grace to parent well each one of our children through all the different seasons of their lives.
God is faithful and good, and in Him we can fully trust,