I was the new pastor at a church and our son was returning from camp with the youth group. As they excitedly exited the bus one of the last kids off was an odd boy with bright blue hair. Wait! That’s my kid!
The only kid to come home with psycho-hair and it was the pastor’s kid.
It was obvious he was a little nervous as to what my response would be. And, what would the folks in the congregation think of their new pastor and family? The kids from the other church who offered to dye his hair assured him it would easily wash out. They probably lied about other things, too.
You’ve heard it before – Keep the first things first. Major on the majors. But sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s major and what’s minor. Is screwy hair major? What about a son who wants pierced ears? Violating curfew? Hanging out with kids obviously headed for trouble? Little ones refusing to eat their carrots? Dropping to the floor in a tantrum when unhappy? Repeatedly “forgetting” homework or chores? Consistent lateness? Messiness?
What’s a big deal and what’s no big deal?
Early on I realized, at least for me, I could divide major and minor by asking two questions.
- Is it a sin issue?
- Is it a heart issue?
It’s a big deal if it’s a Biblical sin issue – lying, cheating, theft, immorality, etc.
It’s a big deal if it’s a heart issue – rebellion, disrespect, hateful attitude, etc.
Is blue hair sin? I can’t find a passage forbidding it.
Is it a heart issue? No, just a fun thing to do because it will “easily wash out”.
When I was in sixth grade I wanted a Mohawk – yes, that was long before they were cool. It just seemed like a fun thing to try. I got one and guess what – it grew out. Blue hair, green nail polish, (minor) piercings do, too. Though Jana had a different take on the pierced ears thing so the son didn’t get that one.
Third question: Does my wife think it’s major? If so, a wise husband realizes it is major.
Watch their heart. If your child has a heart to please God you can let a lot of things slide and address it with instruction and a laugh or two instead of disciplinary action.
However, if they have a rebellious heart bent on going their own way, not open to correction, you need to deal with it much more firmly. All rebellion is ultimately against God since He established every authority – including you as the parent. That’s why rebellion even against you is serious stuff.
Not sweating the small stuff will give you more time to just have fun with your kids and likely even help eliminate a lot of nagging we parents can be known for.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed.
– Proverbs 23:15