I listed to Matthew’s well thought out and just a bit emotional reasons as to why it was incredibly wrong for Greta to leave her nice “church” socks on the front porch. He proceeded to say that if he were the parent that if she continued to ruin her good socks he would have her pay for the next pair of socks.
I simply had one question for Matthew in response – “Just like I make you pay for all of your new pair of jeans because you wear holes in the knees?”
He said he couldn’t help it, he was forced to do it at school. I responded that Greta doesn’t come home with holes in the knees of her pants. Well she’s not in 5th grade! My response, she is in 4th grade as you were last year and you got holes in your knees last year too. There wasn’t much else to say after that.
It seems that Matthew was having trouble with grace and application. Kids are kids. Matthew plays hard and gets holes in the knees of his pants. If I stifle that, what else might I stifle? So we have to iron on some patches, it’s not the end of the world. Greta has a personality of friendliness and giving – so much so that she doesn’t take time to put things away properly before the next act of giving and friendliness. If I stifle that, what else might I stifle?
But to Matthew, he saw the rules in his mind as only applying to Greta. He didn’t see how his judgmental rules would apply to himself as well. I suppose it is the same with adults. We also struggle with grace and application. We only want the rules to apply to others, but we want grace for ourselves. Perhaps Matthew will figure it out eventually. In the meantime, I tell myself that holes in knees and misplaced socks are not the end of the world. At some point in time, Matthew will outgrow wearing out the holes in the knees of his jeans. At some point Greta will “catch on” to the instructions of neatness and tidiness that so far haven’t had the impact we have hoped for. I will keep giving instruction and I will keep giving grace, as God gives it to me.