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So we're driving home on Saturday afternoon and Quinn starts a conversation.  Actually it's not really a conversation.  He's got a little bit of a sulk going on because he wanted a green pair of shorts.  He got sopping wet in the rain and we couldn't go to the shops because we're 45min from home and he is in nothing but his scants - and although this may be acceptable in South Africa, in Hong Kong ... he is about to become laughing stock of East Point City.  So we've abandoned the shops and are on our way home.  He and his brothers are being carefully dealt some sweets from mom.  But Quinn still has a thick bottom lip and while I'm teasing him he offers me a sweet.  I say no thanks because I don't want one from a sulker.  He laughs and says 'Dad, you're not the boss of me, I want to give it to you, this if for you!'

So I pop the sweet in my mouth and I replied that he is quite right.  I am not his boss, and he is not mine.  He is free to give me the sweet.  And then I am free to do what I want with it.  He stops briefly to consider my statement because of course if he has given me the sweet then I must eat it... and of course I don't have to.  That is my choice.  We chat about how he can give me whatever he wants but I have the right to do with it as I want.  He can't control that.  What he can control is his heart.  He can go with the freedom to give when he wants and not worry about the response.  He does what is in his heart and then let's it go.  He can love freely.  By the same notion I can eat the sweet, give it away or throw it out the window.  That's my choice.

Gina shouts (in a lady like fashion) from the back, 'That's boundaries'.  Yes, at last I have a nice example of an outworked boundary issue.  A boundary is not a rule.  A boundary positions you to take charge of yourself.  A boundary gives you choice.  It's incredibly liberating. 

Quinn 'clicked' on this straight away because I had the choice to say no to getting the shorts.  He had the choice to enjoy the ride home or sulk.  Kids are not stupid!  When he saw I was making a choice and sulking was not going to change it, he moved on pretty quickly.  Sure when he was 2 years old we had another way of dealing with this heart issue.  Now he is a little older and we can work with the understanding.  Oh ... and we did get his shorts ... the next day ... and he decided against the green shorts!

I could have told Quinn that sulking children don't get what they want and as a result he cannot have the shorts.  That's the rule and that's the punishment.  But it's not the real issue.  He needs to know that sulking shows he is not trusting in a good father who cares and provides.  And it's his revelation of a father that changes how he lives as a son.  He doesn't get because of what he is doing but because of what dad is doing to give it to him.  A very pleasant place ... when you learn to trust.

Boundaries and rules are simply not the same thing.  Children do need boundaries and boundaries have everything to do with inheritance and a portion that is to your benefit.  They need to understand their authority (what they are the boss of) and how that gives them freedom to walk in an inheritance.  I don't know how to explain the link and I think I am still learning this.  Look at Psalm 16:5-6 NKJV 'O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.  The lines (or boundaries) have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.'  I am thinking that maybe we exercise our authority in the wrong place - over others.  Maybe our inheritance is linked to exercising authority over ourselves and our circumstances.  When we start doing that maybe we won't be some worried about exercising it over children and our children over us?

Bronnie
28/5/2013 03:57:55

WOW I really like this - its real good Stevie!

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Gabriel
2/6/2013 05:04:27

Im sure this kind of way to handle conflict would of done wonders to my rebellios ways from the early age of 7years old.....when i started to look at all the rules and thought they were so stuped.....but i was told to shutupp and obey...geuss what...it made me more rebellios
Greate stuff

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