MOST nights you will find Team Davis eating dinner together around the dinner table. Granted, this has lately involved me laying on the couch with my feet up looking at the dinner table trying to reduce the size of my preggo feet.
There are a few rules around the table:
- NO electronics or toys – purely family time and conversation
- NO getting up without asking to be excused (which at the end of the meal includes a “thank you” to whoever made or bought the meal)
- LISTEN when others are talking and do not talk over them
For the most part, the kids (and the parents) do a pretty good job at the rule following. Most dinners also involve a “Best Part/Worst Part of Day” or as some people call it “the highs/lows”. During one of these conversations Taylor was expressing her frustrations around a particularly difficult day and that all their friends tell them they have “bad parents”. Her face quickly showed the fear of repeating such a statement and you could see that she was certain there would be some consequence for calling us “bad”. Instead I smiled…
Me: That’s great! I’m glad your friends think I’m a bad mom
Jordan: Doesn’t it make you angry that they call you bad?
Me: Nope! You talk about these kids all the time (note: these kids are particularly mean, bullying, selfish, spiteful children) – I don’t want to be the kind of mom they think is “good”.
Taylor: They say you are bad because you don’t let us have our own smart phones and that you won’t let us get on youtube by ourselves or search Google whenever we want.
Me: Exactly! I’ll proudly take the title of “Bad Mommy” if protecting you, loving you, and raising you the way God has called me to is “bad”.
This got me thinking about John 15:17-19
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Let me define “world”. By “world” I mean anyone that is not a Christian (defining Christian well would take another 5 pages so I’m going to skip that for now). In other words, the “world” hated Christ. Because we have surrendered our lives to live the way Christ has called us, they therefore hate us.
My kids deal with the “hate” of the world on a daily basis. From being picked on because they follow the rules (as Taylor puts it “you can only be in the ‘cool’ group at school if you do stuff that is bad and makes the teachers angry) to being nice to those that are being excluded (Taylor talking to the girl in her class with the yellow teeth and bad breath that everyone makes fun of). It’s hard for them. It’s hard for us (Justin and I) to listen our kids nearly daily express their hurt around being called names, being ostracized, and being physically attacked on occasion because they are being raised to do the RIGHT thing. To add to that they are picked on because of the choices their parents are making to protect them from the “world”.
I want to clarify what I mean by “protect them from the world”.
Living in the World is NOT bad. Our entire lives my kids will be surrounded by the “world”. That is not bad. In fact, we are called (as Christians) to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) We are expected to live in the “world” surrounded by those that are not Christians and that is not a bad thing at all. My kids are encouraged to talk to us about things they are unfamiliar with or things they hear that seem to contrary to what we believe. Like when my 4th grader comes home and asks about why her friends are talking about how they have sex already. She asks what that means. Then in 5th grade she asks why they do it if they aren’t married (or at least they say they are doing it) when we have taught her that sex is for marriage. We don’t’ shy away from these conversations, we have them, we encourage them. We explain the biblical principles behind them so, when it comes time, they can make her own educated choices based on biblical principles.
We do NOT expose them to things in the world that will CAUSE them to sin. This can mean different things to different people. This can even be different depending on which of my kids we are talking about. They all struggle with their own things. For us this means things like making sure all “Google” searches are done with a parent nearby because even the most innocent of searches can return something like pornographic images/sites (which are a sin). This means things like not allowing my 10 year old to have a cell phone because she is still learning to stand up for herself (learning to say NO to peer pressure) and she tells me about the things she has seen on friends phones (yes, 4th graders are sending penis pictures to each other, using group chats to bully each other, encouraging each other to steal some cash from their parents, and so on).
We expect them to LOVE the world. We also explain to them we are called to love the world. That we, as Christians, are no better than the world. That we ALL deserve hell. That the only difference between “us” and “them” is that we have realized our brokenness and made the decision to be a Christian (again this is a complicated definition that I will not get into now). That doesn’t make us better. And because of that we should LOVE everyone like God loves us, Christian or not. It means that just because somebody might be living a life of sin, doesn’t mean we get to be mean to them or disrespect them.
So, what is the point of this post?! That’s a great question.\
The point is that I’m proud to be a ‘bad mommy’. I’m proud of my kids for repeatedly going against the “flow” of the world and standing strong in their beliefs. I’m proud to say the world hates me because I refuse to live like those in the world (YES I make mistakes – I’m not perfect). I proud to admit that we will not shy away from difficult conversations with our kids about sex, drugs, and rock and roll because it could be uncomfortable. If the world hates me for doing the right thing, then I’m doing something right (if a murderer hates you for telling him murder is wrong… that’s a good thing).
BUT it sucks. Having a child call me names like “bad mommy” doesn’t bother me one bit, but for my kids it can be devastating. It sucks that I know it will never really get easier – that their entire lives they will be ‘hated’. But, we (as Christian parents) can encourage them that pleasing the Lord is worth more than pleasing the world. That in the end, all the hate we experience towards us will be worth it.