Friday, March 6, 2009

And Some Grace to Spare

I was recently reading on another site where a mom described saying yes to a request she would normally have said no to and discussing why she made an exception. The horrible thing she said yes to was a sugary sweet marshmallow lollipop thing. She describes saying yes out of weariness, but not regretting the decision later.

We all want to be good parents and do what is best for our children. That is why we set rules and limits. No more than 2 hours of tv during the week. No candy before dinner. Only milk or water at meals. But every so often, the best of us succumb to fast food or allowing a soda while out shopping or even the forbidden cartoon Spongebob for an extra hour. Does that make us bad parents? Are we now failures? Can we no longer claim our stake with our children that we make rules because we have their best interests at heart?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately because some of the comments to the post I read contained things like, "Now all your kids will want to accompany you every time you go to the store," and "I never say yes to something like that because if I do it once, the kids think it's allowed and now I've trained them so well, they don't even ask anymore!" Most of these comments were left by anonymous users or users using a pseudonym which made me wonder even more....

Personally, I think it takes a certain type of grace to occasionally make an exception. It takes grace because you run the risk of having a child now assume that the previously forbidden. It also could force you into over-explaining why in this one case we are allowing "it" and why it won't be allowed in the future. And we have now put ourselves up for all of the parents we know to now criticize our decision and makes claims like the one about how well-trained their kids are.

The little girl, to whom this mother said yes, was grateful and gracious, telling her mother how she would savor this special treat and how she was going to make it last. I don't know if mom had some explaining to do to the other kids at home or if she went into detail about how this was a one time thing for this little girl, but I am sure that God had some grace to spare when and if those things came up.