(This post was written by Chuck Carringer, Pastor of Family Ministries)
How does your family navigate through mistakes and accidents? Mistakes and accidents are a wonderful teaching time for our children. Consider the following:
- Intentionally create an environment in the home and our children’s lives where mistakes and accidents are kept in perspective. I would rather my children try something as opposed to have programmed them that mistakes are to be avoided at all costs. I believe the fear of failure for many people starts at an early age. Sure, I would rather hit the target than miss it. But I would rather my children have the courage to try rather than be afraid to fail. Mom and Dad, let’s create an environment in our home where mistakes and accidents are understood to be part of the growth process.
- Accidents can be useful in teaching our children responsibility. Whether it is spilled milk, a broken window from a baseball or a ding in a car fender, our children will have their share of accidents. (Some of my friends who have had teenage drivers are certain that they have had more than their share!) One of the principles I want to teach my children is to be responsible. When an accident occurs, take responsibility. Let me know immediately what happened. If your child is old enough to clean up the spill let them clean it up. That is taking responsibility. Depending on their age, we may need to assist in the initial “clean up” but the principle is the same. Take responsibility. Allow your children to pay for the broken window or damage to the car. Let’s take advantage of an accident to teach responsibility.
- Mistakes and accidents can also be a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate grace. Parents, as we train our children, there will be numerous situations where they “deserved” the natural consequence of their actions. The natural consequence of breaking a window is to pay for the replacement. Instead, let’s pay their debt. Just like Jesus paid our sin debt. Take the time to explain and demonstrate the wonderful concept of grace.
Accidents and mistakes can be frustrating but they are also wonderful teaching opportunities. Let’s teach our kids about not being afraid to fail, taking responsibility and grace.
Parents, are you making the most out of spilled milk?