Parenting With An Atmosphere of Grace Series
The other day my son and I were looking at clothes in a local store. My son picked up a hat and put it on his head sideways telling me he wanted this hat. To me he looked like a gangster rapper from infamous rap videos so my first reaction was of course to say "No way." I then paused and realized that my son uses good judgement 95% of the time and he has always displayed good character traits at school and with friends. Was my reaction based on any moral relevance or simply on my own personal opinion?
My initial reaction was "What would other people think?" and I envisioned people at church whispering saying "That's the son of the guy who writes about parenting and teaches the parenting bible study! His kid looks like a juvenile delinquent."
Luckily, I realized that I was not using grace. This hat was simply a passing fad of my son's culture. When I was growing up; I wore combat boots, a beret and a Pink Floyd shirt to school! I was just expressing myself through the wearing of clothes.
Many times as parents, I believe we turn simply differences of opinion, culture and generational fads into full blown moral disagreements. What's even worse is when we try to falsely use scripture to back up our own opinions simply because we disagree with a child's choice of clothing. To my knowledge, the only biblical guidance on dress involves modesty? It says nothing of wearing a hat sideways?
Furthermore, does God judge us by our manner of dress or the character or our hearts?
Imagine if God judged us with the same black and white perimeters I was placing on my son?
I think many times we overreact as parents not based on any moral grounds but simply on our own embarrassment or what we perceive as "un-Christian."
In the end, I let God's grace guide me and we ended up buying the hat for my son for a Christmas present. However, I reflected on this lesson and wondered how many times in the past I made a knee jerk reactions based on my own opinions rather than moral absolutes?
As parents, we have to pick our battles carefully and this one, once examined, would be an absurd area to hold my ground.
My son understands moral absolutes and does not violate them. My son does not support the illicit behaviors that permeates the rap culture, he simply wanted to fit in with his peers.
P.S. The above photo is three kids at a Christian Summer Camp.