Parenting with grace, and do-overs

Last night the local Parks and Recreation held a daddy/daughter dance. Mike and Natalie were signed up to go. They were both pretty excited about it, and I was excited for them.

And then, our daughter decided to “accidentally” steal two cell phones from the adults at school (one teacher, one parent).

Part of her punishment was that she would not be attending the dance with her dad. And that broke our hearts. It would have been lovely, getting them all dressed up for a real date. Daddy and his precious little girl. She was devastated to learn they would not be going, and we were too. We want to do nice things for our children, and to make memorable experiences. But not at the expense of teaching them they can get away with lying, stealing, or cheating.

I believe this is a lesson – an experience – Natalie will remember for years to come. Of course as a parent you would rather your children  only have warm, fuzzy memories of childhood, but that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for life on their own out in the real world, does it? They will have it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I know there are a million worse things, but right now this feels like the ugly. This morning I saw other dads had posted pictures with their daughters, all dolled up and ready for the dance. My heart broke all over again.

We want to bless our children. We want to give them good things. But when they go and make mistakes like lying or stealing, they ruin it for themselves, don’t they?

This is not a new concept. This theme, this story, has been occurring over and over and over again, since the very beginning of time. Ever hear of Adam and Eve? Wow. God had so much to give them. They were living in paradise. No worries, not a care in the world. God looked forward to blessing them. He wanted so badly to give them good things.

And then they listened to that damn snake.

I think I now have an inkling of what God was feeling at that moment. His heart was broken, just as mine is over my daughter stealing. Dang it girl, why did you have to go and do that? You would have had such a wonderful time at that dance. I’m just heartbroken. And angry. But angry FOR her, not AT her. It’s an anger that comes from a place of deep, deep love. Wanting to give her good things. Just like our Father God. He wants to give us good things, good experiences, and it breaks His heart when we screw it up.

But! We get second chances, and thirds, and fourths, and so on. God’s grace is endless. I am so grateful for that. Do-overs are the best! In fact, we decided to give Natalie a do-over. We are giving her the chance to earn a night out at the movies with her second favorite person: Momma.

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