"A butterfly is a transformation, not a better caterpillar." Chris McGoff ("The Primes")
"What are you doing?" I asked knowing full well that she had been in the garage sneaking a hidden candy stash. Without missing a beat, my little dark eyed pixie looked up at me and exclaimed, "I came in to give you a hug, Mommy." I knew in that moment that I was dealing with a gifted liar!
Sometimes I focus upon change rather than transformation. In order to correct this behavior in my daughter, it became evident that change was not what was needed. Change would correct the behaviors. Transformation would make over her heart.
Change can be a short term solution. Oftentimes when one of my kids is struggling with something, I just want change. It's often more immediate. I also have more control over change. Change is forced upon us. Kids can alter their behavior based upon what is at stake for them.
Transformation is a long term remedy that is much more difficult most of the time. When I seek transformation in the lives of my kids I am seeking a heart make over. I am trusting that my kids will allow the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts to truly transform them to be more like Jesus. Transformation is deeply personal. When the hearts of my kids are transformed it's because they've done the work, not because they're in danger of being grounded.
Like a caterpillar entering into its cocoon to undergo true transformation, I want my kids to be transformed into a new creation each time there is a character issue that needs addressing.
Ways to encourage transformation:
Seek scripture: Begin at an early age to memorize scripture as a family. Teach them to love the Word of God and to love its contents.
Actively involve them in prayer: prayer time is not limited to just meals. Teaching kids to pray for their needs is caught because you've taught it. When you're in need of asking for God's forgiveness for something, do so and let you kids witness this. Teach them to listen during times of prayer too. Showing them how to be sensitive to the still, small voice of God will benefit them the rest of their lives.
Use everyday situations to bring faith into conversation: is there a rainbow that's coloring your sky? Talk about how God loves to give us beautiful things. Conversations that point out the personal nature of a loving God will teach kids that God loves them. Transformation will occur when kids have a heart full of love and want to please God.
Keep them in church. Kids are bombarded with negative messages all week long. Keep them grounded and growing in a healthy group of believers.
How about you? Are you tempted to work towards change in the lives of your kids because it's quicker or because you have more control over it? What do you do to ensure that you kids will become transformed rather than merely changed?