When I was five years old, I fell down our basement stairs and fractured my left leg. I was convalescing in a cast when a lady dropped by with a bag of delicious cookies. They were sugar cookies and she made it clear that they were for me, but said that I could share them with my family if I wished. At supper time, I consented to giving everyone one cookie each, and then Mom put them away “for later.”
A couple of days later, I asked if I could have one of my cookies. My parents’ response mystified me. They seemed nervous and glanced furtively at one another.
I was only five years old, but I had two older brothers — I knew what betrayal was about. But my parents? The magnitude of their treachery crashed upon me like a tsunami!
With trust eroding and emotion rising, I exclaimed with righteous indignation, “You ate my sugar cookies!”
The perpetrators both confessed, exhibited sincere contrition and we managed to move forward.
I remember my parents with fondness and I regard the incident as humorous. But you know what? They should have asked me first.
In fact, modern-day children have some pretty strong opinions on this sort of thing. A group of 10-year-olds were asked, “What’s wrong with grown-ups?”
Their answers are listed below.
Grown-ups make promises, then break them, or say it wasn’t really a promise, just a maybe.
Grown-ups don’t do the things they tell us to do, like picking up their things or telling the truth. Grown-ups never really listen to what children say. They always decide ahead of time what they will answer.
Grown-ups make mistakes, but they won’t admit them. Grown-ups interrupt children all the time. If a child interrupts a grownup, they get scolded.
Grown-ups never understand how much children want a certain thing. They say, “I can’t imagine why you want that thing.”
Grown-ups punish unfairly. Sometimes, you do some little thing wrong and grownups give lots of punishment. Other times, you do something really bad and they say they’ll punish you, but don’t. You never know what to expect.
Grown-ups talk about when they were 10, but they don’t try to understand what it’s like to be 10 now.
What I see in the survey is that the parents of those 10-year-olds are struggling with integrity and consistency, both major issues. If we truly love and cherish our children, we will not only tell them truth, we will live it before them and guide them by example.
“Teach children the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” (Exodus 18:20)
Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.