Sunday, February 1, 2009

coagulation of ideas--on not micro-managing our children

did you ever notice how much God just lets us do?  I was thinking about this the other day when I decided to let my five year old mop my kitchen floor for me.  Not have her help me do it.  Not stand over her and direct her how to do it.  Get her the bucket and rag and just let her go at it and see what happened.  

What happened was that she did a good job.  She didn't get the floor as clean as I would have, but it was a lot cleaner that it had been when she started.  Because while I could have done a better job myself, the truth was that I wasn't going to.  Not that afternoon.  I was in the middle of several other things.  It got me thinking about just how much I micro-manage my kids.  How much I want the "right" results.  How much I supervise and direct . . . and how un-God-like that is.

God just lets us do stuff.  The whole world is his a whole lot more than my house is mine--and he simply lets us re-decorate.  Stickers on the wall, climb over the furniture.  Rearrange for the game.  Do all of it.  He lets us fight with our brothers and sisters.  And then, if we ask, he helps us clean up the mess . . . 

the problem of pain is this:  why does God let bad things happen?  I think the answer must be in part, because God lets us make real decisions and take real actions that actually matter.  He lets us explore and experiment and screw up . . . and then forgives us when things inevitably go horribly wrong.  And he doesn't just give this gift to me, or to the people I like.  He gives it to every single one of us--and the results look to us like utter chaos sometimes.  But what he doesn't do is in any way curtail the gift of freedom that he gave us.  He refuses to make us puppets.  He lets our actions have consequences, because without them the world would be a non-sensical farce . . . endings disconnected from the beginning.  

God delights in seeing us grow . . . and it seems that true growth means, sometimes, just finding out with our own two hands what does and doesn't work.  And he seems to mind less than we do mopping up the puddles afterwards.


Debbie said...

That was excellent. I have often struggled with mico-managing my children, even when they are now adults. I am constantly amazed that the Lord gives us free will to "do it myself" (that was my youngest daughters favorite phrase) and still loves us when we screw it up badly.

P.S. I left you an award on my blog.

Koala Bear Writer said...

Wow, what profound thoughts! Good for you for being willing to let your daughter help. And thanks for sharing the lessons you learned from it!

Heather said...

*shudder* I can't imagine not micro-managing my kids.

But you've brought up an extremely good point - God doesn't do it to us, so why should we do it to our kids?

Perhaps I should try a little harder to let go...

(oh, BTW, just noticed your sidebar is still linking to my very old blog address)