“Be Real” is such a buzz phrase in our culture that has just way overstepped its bounds. Of course when teaching our children any area of character development, we all realize that some sins are simply more challenging for us than others. We may struggle with some items in our life that never even enter into the minds of our friends or peers. So in an effort to avoid all appearance of hypocrisy, some parents take it upon themselves to not only “be real” but reveal every little thing about their past. This is a HUGE mistake.
First of all, when teaching our children about something like -oh- lets take for example -lying. Lying is a perfect opportunity to tell them about our personal experience with a lie and the consequences. Everybody lies. Everybody tries it. How it is dealt with or the long term consequence is something we definitely want to teach our children.
But let’s turn up the heat a bit. What if we struggled with drug abuse? What about an abortion in our past? What about promiscuity? Should these items as well be open and “real?” Should we just lay out our challenged past and let it all flap in the wind? Should we be THAT real with our children?
No. You see, our children see us in a way that is amazingly filled with grace. They look up to us and love us so purely, it must be handled delicately. To come in the name of “reality” and share our jaded past with them is just way more than they can bear. Allow them to see us as the authority in their life, the one they love beyond compare, without saddling them with the guilt and weight of our past foolish decisions. That “my mommy hung the moon” and “my daddy is a superhero” mindset must be held onto at all costs. Besides, those things in our past are dead. The person we were is dead. We are all a new creation now alive in Christ, and He doesn’t even remember our sins, so why should our children be given the opportunity to look at you in that way?
There are examples in all our lives where we as kids lied, and we have a great story to tell our children about how that did not work out so well for us. We can be empathetic and still hold a hard line against it easily, and we have scripture to stand on.
Stealing…another good one to use our own personal examples (unless it was embezzlement or grand theft auto!).
But the biggies, the tough ones that are the ghosts we sense following us, the skeletons in our closets…let those dead dogs lie there dead. Don’t bring them up in the name of “being real.” We wouldn’t be teaching family loyalty at that point; we would be betraying the grace give to us by the one who paid dearly for it.
Be real, but be REAL careful.