How we respond to those two words will determine our grandchildren’s future!
Putting kids in the ‘doghouse’ by the frown of our disapproval or with the “I-can’t-believe-you-forgot...AGAIN!” words or attitude will send signals that they are somehow ‘less than human.’ Children cannot sustain those pressures very long before they look elsewhere for their sense of belonging. (We cannot either!) Peer acceptance quickly takes on greater importance. Cynicism towards adults and all authorities begins to callous their hearts. That, in turn, undermines the Word of God planted by pastors, Sunday School teachers, and those here at ICS. (By the way, the instance of “I forgot” can also be substituted with “I got in trouble,” “I didn’t do my work!” etc.) Students then decide that they can be their own determiners of what is good and true and right, since the adults in their world ‘obviously cannot portray it!’ And so, the path entered is that which is broad and makes sense to those without the Spirit of God.
While all the weight in the world hangs on our children’s decisions— and is shaped by our responses— oddly, humor is the key! This is not the jovial “ha-ha-ha” laughter that slaps someone on the back, remarking, “Isn’t that funny!” Rather, it is the humor that sees in the midst of the “I forgot”. It is the wise assent of “I, too, have forgotten. I, too, have been in trouble. I, too, have not done the work I should have done.” That humor (or is it humility?) sends a twinkle of understanding in the eye that says, “You forgot. Well, let’s see how we can help you remember” and then comes up with silly and serious ways to help them. I must set aside all fears that plot out where this behavior is leading and remember that Christ came to save sinners.
Please do not see this as “Mr. Knowlden’s style.” No credit here. Rather, please see this as essential for winning your children to love the One who walks alongside you and says, “I understand what it is like to be human. I am on your side.” Your experience of the love of Jesus is shown practically by your response to “I forgot.”