This man, John Lyons, was the guest speaker during the church sermon on Sunday at the church we've been going to since January, Grace Fellowship United Methodist. Most of the sermon revolved around this "Two Roads" talk that he has done hundreds of times, but was new to us. I couldn't find any videos on that, but really, it was this last part that got us thinking.
As we drove away, we were headed towards his parents house to pick up my oldest son, and whom we spoke of during the drive. Along our walk that evening, we drew more parallels: parallels between this "Gamble" Lynch speaks of God making with people, and the relationships we have with the people around us, primarily my son.
My son is a great, wonderful, imaginative child. He is also a challenge to deal with. Both my sons are, really, and bless the heart of this man who has chosen to be with me, regardless, and help me raise them, despite the fact that they are not of his flesh. Sometimes, the pressure is a lot for this man to handle. He wonders what he has to do to get through to him, to them, to get them to understand and finally get the discipline and wisdom he is trying to impart to them.
We've struggled with it a little bit, how best to approach these boys. We came to the conclusion at some point that we are both trying to "right the wrongs of our youth", but they are both opposite ends of the spectrum. His parents didn't punish or guide enough, so he wants to push them harder; mine I saw as too demanding and critical, without softness and light encouragement. So I try to love them with freedom and he tries to rein them in with restrictions. It is amazing actually that we never argue, especially not in front of them.
This sermon, though, gave us some new insights on how we could use God's love for us as an example of how to deal with these children. I guess I am more a New Testament parent, and he is more the Old Testament type, and we can throw that back at our parents and see how they were the opposite as we see ourselves, but the real question is: in view of this New Testament Gamble, does it change our approach to parenting? Should we offer love and grace without significant consequences?
Things to ponder over the next few months....