Most Christian parents would agree that submission is a concept we want to teach our children. I am not talking about a cowering-in-a-corner-in-fear kind of submission, but a kind of submission that is motivated by a heart full of humility and awareness of who God is and who we are not. Helping our children make the transition from submitting to their earthly parents to their heavenly Father is a work of the Spirit- one that we can pave the way for by reinforcing this concept of submission.
When our children are outright disobedient, it is hard to miss. Blatant refusal to obey. Ignoring of instructions. These things we see clearly for what they are and address accordingly.
However, there is a much more subtle form of of an unsubmissive heart. It goes a little like this:
“My backpack is missing.”
“My zipper is stuck.”
We often respond to these declarations from our kids as if they are questions, offering to help or alleviate the discomfort. But these are not questions. They are simply statements. Kind of like when God said, “Let there be light” and there was. He didn’t have to ask anyone for it because He is the great I Am.
We clearly are not.
So what does all this matter anyway? Well, a question is fundamentally different from a statement.
Questions come from a place of inferiority (lack of information or resources).
Questions require submission to someone who has the power to say yes or no.
For some this is not a comfortable place to be. However, if we can teach our children to ask us for every need – they will be much more likely to look to the Lord with their questions later in life instead of just voicing their complaints and expecting solutions to appear.
So if your child says, “I’m hot” you can say, “Oh yeah? I feel pretty comfortable.” The first few times, you may get a quizzical look or even a chuckle (although that chuckle might only be from you!). When they ask about your response, let them know that what they said was a statement. If they have a question, you will be happy to answer it when you hear it.
You don’t need to be regimented, legalistic, or manipulative with this – you just want to use this simple idea as a tool to move your family towards a place where submission to a higher authority is lived out and taught.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11