One day I heard an explosion in the family room. Not a physical one, an emotional one. My kids were losing their minds with one another! I entered the room to find out what kind of tragedy had happened and realized that they were fighting over who got to sit on the couch.
The couch. You know, the piece of furniture that could comfortably seat 5-6 children.
That day I instituted one simple rule with our kids that has been tremendously practical and helpful for me in the daily grind of parenting.
People are more important than things.
If you are acting like the couch is more valuable than your brother who was created in the image of God, you lose the privilege of sitting on the couch. Because people are more important than things.
If you are fighting over a toy and acting like that piece of plastic has more value to you than your sister who was created in the image of God, the toy will be put away for a while. Because people are more important than things.
If you are frustrated with your sibling for coming into your room and messing with your things (a valid frustration that should be addressed), but handle this problem in an explosion of anger that reveals you value your crayons or your cars or _______________ more than you value your sibling who was created in the image of God, those things will also be off limits for you for a while. Because people are more important than things.
This has been helpful to have one phrase that I consistently parent with – and allows me to continue the ongoing process of helping them build a Biblical worldview. I can’t force my children to genuinely love one another. But, I can model for them foundational principles of what love is and what motivates it.
Humanity is valuable because we were created in the image of God – and God was willing to pay an infinite price to purchase us out of sin. People are really, really important. When I treat people like they don’t matter, or like a thing I really like is more valuable than they are, I am living a lie. It’s simply not true. People are always more important than things.
The exhausting process of daily disciplining our kids can give us a wonderful opportunity to disciple our kids – to teach them to know, and live, and think, and communicate the truth.
It has also been extremely convicting. Every time I use this phrase it causes me to internally pause and reflect – am I modelling to my kids that they are more important than things? That they matter more than what I am working on? More than my clean kitchen? More than this task I “must” get done right now?
That’s my cue. My kids are more important than this laptop, so I probably should wrap up. Do you have a simple rule that helps teach your kids what it means to show love to one another? I’d love to hear from you on facebook!