Shadow Parenting

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Over the weekend, my next door neighbor stopped by and asked if Wyatt could come over to his house. Tabitha and I know our neighbor pretty well. Wyatt works for him on the occasion. So we said sure, no problem.

Wyatt went over to the neighbors, sat outside on the front porch, and talked for awhile. Time passed, and he soon came home with a bag of books. Turns out our neighbor had wanted to give him a late Christmas gift. No big, right? Right. It was then that I learned that the entire time Wyatt was at the neighbors, he was being guilted/lectured over the way he spends his money.

Photo by Mathieu Turle on Unsplash

Now imagine an adult that you know from passing conversations. An adult that pays your child to do random tasks for him. Imagine that adult now being critical to your kid over how he spends the money he earns. Telling him that he needs to be more purposeful with his money; telling Wyatt to quit spending his money on smaller things (like LEGOS, video games, etc.) and save just like his son used to.

Wyatt came home upset. When he told us what had happened, I was upset. You see, my kid takes stuff like that to heart… this isn’t the first time our neighbor has had this talk.

Good intentions aside, you never know where criticism, judgement, or even shadow parenting may occur.

 

I’m happy that God allows you to consume “blank”

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Feeling like you have to defend your personal and even parenting choices, to fellow Christians, feels weird. You’d think that everyone would be on the same team. Brothers and sisters in Christ and all that, but nope.

Over the years, I’ve had many of these discussions. Whether I’m telling someone about how I don’t let Wyatt watch Marvel movies due to content OR how I dislike the sexual character designs in Fortnite, I still feel judged. Christians are a weird lot where freedom in Christ seems to mean do whatever feels good to you. Do the pleasurable thing, Jesus surely said, and don’t think too much about it.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

A big part of our faith journey is dedicated to asking the questions:

  • Can I consume this?
  • Should I be consuming this?
  • What place does this thing have in my life?

We want those black and white answers where God simply says, “YES, YOU CAN PLAY GRAND THEFT AUTO: SINFUL EDITION.” But that’s not how the Christian walk works. The Christian walk is more about reading the Bible, listening to what God has to say, and engaging God AND the Holy Spirit in our decisions.

Have you ever noticed how when we don’t hear from God (He isn’t answering fast enough), we often turn to friends and even online communities for answers? Don’t get me wrong, community is a good thing. Being a part of several online communities, I have learned that what Christians are really looking for is justification for their media consumption.

We’ll say: “Andrew plays DOOM so why can’t I?”

The thing is, God may convict me over something completely different than you. I get that. It’s cool. But this judgement thing, making a fellow believer feel guilty over something God has convicted them over, is not cool. I’m happy that God allows you to consume _____________. I’m happy that you get to enjoy that freedom. I am. But please do not use your freedom to judge, and in effect, enslave me.

We Are The Halls

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My wife and I hear it all the time:

“You only have one kid, you have it easy.”

OR

“Just wait until you have more, then you’ll know.”

There is an insinuation that our experience is somehow lesser due to the amount of children we have. That as parents, we are clueless because we have only one child. People are stupid with their words. Including fellow Christians.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.- James 3:9-10

I want to implore my brothers and sisters in Christ to watch what they say in passing. To those who do not believe, to be wary of your words. Words have the power to cut like a knife. To rip open wounds that are healing.

Do not dilute my family’s experience based on a trivial number. We are the Hall Family. We are who God has designed us to be.