Teaching a 9-year-old about grace is one thing. Teaching a teenager about grace is another. I hope my young daughters don’t repeat a few of my teenage stunts. But in case they do, I plan to borrow a few scenes from my parent’s play book. Starting with my father.
Yes, this is the man who struck terror in our hearts with his deep voice and massive hands that would squeeze the back of my neck ever so gently whenever I got out of line. But even he knew to sprinkle some grace on the journey. (Either that, or five daughters just wore him down. As my older sisters say, the youngest always has it the easiest!)
Fortunately, I didn’t get in trouble often. But when I did, it tended to be with my church youth group. (Note to parents: just because your kids are with the church crowd, do not assume they are behaving.)
In a particular lapse of judgment, I decided to “skip” youth group and join my friend I’ll call Mary with her older boyfriend and his football buddy for an R-rated movie. I didn’t have to get in Mary’s car. But if you had a choice between riding in a cherry red Mazda RX-7 with a sunroof or an old beat-up church bus, what would you do?
The plan? We would drive separately and ditch the church bus on the way to miniature golf. When questioned, we would claim that Mary’s contact fell out of her eye, causing us to pull over and get lost. And rather than wasting a perfectly good evening, we ended up at the movies.
Of course, I didn’t get away with it. When Mary dropped me off at home after the movie, I knew I was busted. My father wasn’t just waiting for me, he was standing in the garage. Always a bad sign!
I got out of the car and he asked, “What happened?”
I thought hard about the contact story. But I just couldn’t do it. I started sobbing and told him the truth. The whole truth.
“Thank you for telling me the truth.”
No further questions. No punishment. No gentle squeeze on the back of the neck.
And we haven’t discussed it since!
How did your parents teach you – or not teach you — about grace? (I’m thinking about deleting this post so my children don’t use it against me!)