Rules or Relationship

One of the things i like to read on the ‘Net is The Adventures of Clothman! I met Glen a number of years ago and appreciate his passion for Jesus and his humor as he writes about it. One of his best columns appeared this week and I hope you take the time to read it. It is titled “Clothgirl’s First Date” and makes a profound point in a most poignant way. He is allowing his children to live the reality of a relationship rather than to give into the false substitute of rule-making. Read this and you’ll get a picture of God’s heart for you!

And before any one writes me about the fact that Glenn now embraces some version of ultimate reconciliation, rest assured I already know. We disagree on that (and I lament that the focus on such theological conjectures often only serves to take the focus off of Christ) that doesn’t make me want to distance myself from him as a dearly loved brother, nor does it keep me from enjoying the incredible insights he has in is growing relationship with God. I hope it doesn’t keep you from it either—with him or anyone else you know who doesn’t see exactly the way you do about everything. I’m convinced he loves the same Father I do and we can keep loving each other while he keeps shaping both of us.

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10 Comments
  1. kent May 26, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    I love it Wayne. Compare that to last year this time. Amie went to prom two weeks ago and I didn’t give her a curfew either.

  2. kent May 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    I love it Wayne. Compare that to last year this time. Amie went to prom two weeks ago and I didn’t give her a curfew either.

  3. Kevin May 27, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Very nice…and I like the balance too…

    “Rules are for children, freedom is for adults. Rules are for training in life, freedom is for living life. Show me someone who is still subject to rules and I’ll show you someone who is still living on the milk of life and has not learned yet to live on solid foods. ”

    Some seventeen year olds are still “children.” It’s wonderful to hear that there are those who aren’t. Along with that he mentions an existing trust relationship with Tommy, and I assume he had one with his daughter too.

    My wife and I call it parenting inside the funnel. Immaturity is at the bottom of the funnel. The more immature they are the narrower their range of freedoms. As they have matured and shown themselves responsible, the range of freedoms increase. It’s a delicate balance. At times we give them too much freedom and they show they cannot handle it so we simply bring the freedoms back to the edge of the funnel and continue training. Little by little they are getting pushed out of the nest.

  4. Kevin May 27, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Very nice…and I like the balance too…

    “Rules are for children, freedom is for adults. Rules are for training in life, freedom is for living life. Show me someone who is still subject to rules and I’ll show you someone who is still living on the milk of life and has not learned yet to live on solid foods. ”

    Some seventeen year olds are still “children.” It’s wonderful to hear that there are those who aren’t. Along with that he mentions an existing trust relationship with Tommy, and I assume he had one with his daughter too.

    My wife and I call it parenting inside the funnel. Immaturity is at the bottom of the funnel. The more immature they are the narrower their range of freedoms. As they have matured and shown themselves responsible, the range of freedoms increase. It’s a delicate balance. At times we give them too much freedom and they show they cannot handle it so we simply bring the freedoms back to the edge of the funnel and continue training. Little by little they are getting pushed out of the nest.

  5. wileybones May 28, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Wayne, when I went to check out Clothman’s website, I found that he already had Part 2 of Clothgirl’s 1st Date, and he gives a fuller explanation of his reasoning.

    Already having two daughters out of the home, and one of them getting married next month, I somehow dodged most confrontation with them over rules, standards, etc. though I didn’t have as clear an understanding of rules as Glen is showing. With our third daughter having just gone on her first date with a fellow very much like “Tommy”, we’re only just starting to explore this as new territory from a changing perspective, a perspective that is changing in large part as I listen to you and Brad, and mull over the Father’s love and living relationally. I’m excited and a bit apprehensive as I look forward to helping our two teens still at home to be truly prepared for the freedom they are heading toward as adults– a freedom of living in loving relationship with Father!

  6. wileybones May 28, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Wayne, when I went to check out Clothman’s website, I found that he already had Part 2 of Clothgirl’s 1st Date, and he gives a fuller explanation of his reasoning.

    Already having two daughters out of the home, and one of them getting married next month, I somehow dodged most confrontation with them over rules, standards, etc. though I didn’t have as clear an understanding of rules as Glen is showing. With our third daughter having just gone on her first date with a fellow very much like “Tommy”, we’re only just starting to explore this as new territory from a changing perspective, a perspective that is changing in large part as I listen to you and Brad, and mull over the Father’s love and living relationally. I’m excited and a bit apprehensive as I look forward to helping our two teens still at home to be truly prepared for the freedom they are heading toward as adults– a freedom of living in loving relationship with Father!

  7. Wayne May 29, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Kevin,

    I hear what you’re saying, but I hope a lot of parents would consider that their seventeen year olds might still be children because they have never been trained how to be good decision-makers.

    If we only let them make decisions when they decide what we want them to, they will never learn. This process is far better learned when children are 10-14 when the consequences of their mistakes are far less drastic than when they get to 16, 17 and 18! That DARE TO DISCIPLINE stuff is for younger ages when rules is all our children can understand. But from the youngest ages we can help them learn how to be decision-makers, which also implies that we’re going to let them make some mistakes as they grow. If not, I’m afraid a major crash awaits!

    Parents who only contain children and do not train them end up with kids in their late teens and twenties only breed resentment along with their immaturity and often those children will fall into the worst kind of traps when they realize that at their age Mom and Dad truly have so little power to make them do anything. The results are a nightmare for both the parents and the kids.

    Wayne

  8. Kevin May 29, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Wayne:

    Absoultely. The problem though is at 17, it’s not necessarily too late, but it sure is pretty far downstream.

    At that point it usually becomes the the school of hard-knocks that does the training.

    – Kevin

  9. Wayne May 29, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Kevin,

    I hear what you’re saying, but I hope a lot of parents would consider that their seventeen year olds might still be children because they have never been trained how to be good decision-makers.

    If we only let them make decisions when they decide what we want them to, they will never learn. This process is far better learned when children are 10-14 when the consequences of their mistakes are far less drastic than when they get to 16, 17 and 18! That DARE TO DISCIPLINE stuff is for younger ages when rules is all our children can understand. But from the youngest ages we can help them learn how to be decision-makers, which also implies that we’re going to let them make some mistakes as they grow. If not, I’m afraid a major crash awaits!

    Parents who only contain children and do not train them end up with kids in their late teens and twenties only breed resentment along with their immaturity and often those children will fall into the worst kind of traps when they realize that at their age Mom and Dad truly have so little power to make them do anything. The results are a nightmare for both the parents and the kids.

    Wayne

  10. Kevin May 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Wayne:

    Absoultely. The problem though is at 17, it’s not necessarily too late, but it sure is pretty far downstream.

    At that point it usually becomes the the school of hard-knocks that does the training.

    – Kevin

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