I will often explain to others how much more difficult it is to parent my 2-year-old daughter when compared to my 6-year-old son. She – even at 2 – is mischievous, prone to tantrums, overly-dramatic and feisty. He is kind, compassionate, quick to help a friend – or even his sister – and honest.
I should really be careful how often I say this in front of my daughter – she will begin to believe she is naughty. And I’m stuck with a self-fulfilled prophecy!
To be fair, these are exaggerations – these few words do not define who my children are, or how my husband and I parent them. My daughter is feisty, but I actually love that about her. She is also persistent and courageous, and we have so many moments of laughter, fun, happiness and love. And my son, of course, is not without his own parental challenges.
As I drove my son home from school this past Friday, he told me about his day. He has now finished his second week of kindergarten so there are still many new things to share. So far he has been quite proud to tell us how well behaved he is. Well, on this day my son becomes a little quiet, and with trepidation tells me that he threw a pine cone at another child at recess. I can tell he feels guilt for his action, but also nervous about how I will react. I ask if the other kid was OK, and what the teacher did – basically, how big of trouble did he get into? He tells me the kid was fine, and that none of the teachers knew he did it.
So – my dear son, hours after a relatively minor infraction, felt such guilt that he chose to tell me, risking punishment – or worse, a lecture. (He received the latter.) I told you he was honest.
In my Bible, I did a keyword search for “conscience” and found this lovely insight from Proverbs 20:27 –
The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every innermost part.
Our heart, our minds, know what pleases our God. And we have this example in Jesus to show us what pleases our God:
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15
In turn, we know what displeases our God. How amazing that my son can own his sin, his faults, his bad choices. When we are honest with ourselves, the people we love and with God, we can move past our human sin and actually do better next time; make better choices. I pray daily that my son keeps his honesty and pure conscious. I also pray that I will know how to respond to his confessions – particularly when his wrongdoing is more serious than throwing a pine cone.
I am sinful – I make bad choices and have evil, vengeful thoughts. But when I can openly discuss these things my husband, my friends (or sometimes even with my son), and lift up my transgressions in prayer, I feel a weight lifted. And then I begin to handle, to cope, to move forward from the sin and walk towards, or even better walk with my God.