There's not a much warmer feeling than when your children are willing to open up and talk to you about something they are struggling with. But how do we get them to do that? It takes stepping outside of ourselves and building a relationship with them. Relationships with others take time and energy to build and that is no different with our children.
What is the cost if we don't lay aside our selfishness and pursue their good? It's children who chafe against the rules. And we wonder why they aren't just openly embracing all we are trying to teach them. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you open up to someone who doesn't respect you as an individual? Would you accept what that person has to say if he or she won't take the time to get to know you for who YOU are and not just what he or she wants you to be?
I see this happening in so many church families and it breaks my heart. We are failing our children because of our busyness and our selfishness. The Bible says that it is better for a millstone to be hung around our necks and to be cast into the sea than to offend one of His little ones. (Matthew 18:5-6)
Our children are adults-in-training. They have thoughts and ideas all their own. If we fail to see that, we do them a great disservice. They are not, nor should they be, carbon copies of us. God created them as individuals that we are entrusted to train. Our job is not to MAKE them be Godly. Our job is to lead them to the Cross. How do we do that? We SHOW them how to be Godly. That means loving unconditionally like God loves. That means desiring a relationship with them like God desires with us. Our talk does more harm than good if we aren't going to step outside ourselves and be Jesus in the flesh to them.