I’ve seen other people do it, Dad!” This was a statement my son made to me just this morning. We were discussing some code of conduct at the school. Dress code to be exact. It is school spirit day and thus the normal dress code is a bit lax for today. Yet there still are some guidelines given. A part of what my son wanted to wear fell outside those guidelines. I was seeking to help him understand, he was seeking to justify his choice. The winning stroke (he thought) was the argument above.

A seeming parenting paradox was being presented to me. I didn’t want my son to naively just follow the crowd – especially when wrong. But the other danger was embittering his heart to become cynical toward rules and authority. How could I walk this path with him? What could I do or say to show him this dress code (while man made and not a moral issue) was there for his good, even if others didn’t follow it? How could I interact with him so he didn’t blindly follow others lead, but also didn’t grow cold and bitter toward authorities? As Jesus put it to His disciples:

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Matthew 10:16

The paradox I was being presented in parenting my son was one Jesus called His disciples to understand as well. His desire for them is my desire for all my children. I want them to be shrewd rather than gullible. At the same time I want them to be innocent rather than cynical. Or as Paul put it, “In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” (1 Cor. 14:20) So how can I do that? “How Do We Raise Kids Who Are Not Naive or Cynical?” John Piper attempts to answer that question. He gives 4 great points on pursuing that goal.

What point did you appreciate best? I really like #2. As a communicator, teacher, and parent I find that point to be a major teaching tool. It has proven helpful and effective in my experience. Of course #3, is probably the hardest of all to live out in front of those closest to you (aka – your kids). I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash