I was preaching in a church last month when I heard my mouth say: "One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is that we love Jesus more than we love them". Well you can imagine how that went down. The placed hushed to a pregnant silence, as folks tried to process their revulsion at the thought that anything would be loved more than their kids and a vague recollection that maybe that is what Jesus spoke about somewhere in the sacred text.
So many decisions made by parents, however leave their children with the misperception that they are the center of the universe. The problem is that they are not. Then, when they engage this God of the gospel, he is certainly not placing them in the center of his universe and they end up in endless combat with the Ancient of Days as a result.
However, if you do with to make your child a 'god', here are some helpful tips:
1. From when they are born, ensure that there is only ever silence in the house so as not to disrupt their sleep in anyway,
2. Make bed time a set time that cannot be broken under any circumstances - of course that makes going to evening life groups and the like impossible,
3. Never let them sleep anywhere but in their bed as that may be very inconvenient and disrupt their rhythm, - or in your bed, so that if you and the missus don't make love for weeks, it is not a problem as the 'little god' is not inconvenienced,
4. Only let them eat what they like. The notion that they must 'eat what is set before them' is fiercely anti their rights to choose,
5. Clean their rooms for them all the time. They must be served as they are royalty
6. Always tell them they have done well - even if they haven't. These are not lies but pleasant encouragements. Honest debriefs and assessments are to be discouraged because they may reveal faults and flaws when what we really want to do is applaud all the time [surely that is what God does with us isn't it?]
7. It is never their fault - I mean we know a poor grade is the teacher's fault, the distracting child in the other seat, or it may even simply be the school, so we need a new learning environment,
8. They got drawn into the wrong crowd - of course they are never the wrong crowd, it is those other kids,
9. We must certainly never give them chores nor even expect that they fulfill these duties - they are tired, [from late night TV or video games] and this has no bearing on how they will shift from job to job as adults,
10. They must definitely never let them acknowledge wrong doing, apologize, make right, pay for the damage...
I am sorry if my humor is not very funny. However, my desire is not to poke fun at nor belittle - I simply want to take daily mistakes we all make inadvertently letting them believe that the universe spins around them. Then, when they come to faith or even simply have to deal with life, they are floored by the fact that neither God nor humanity are there to serve their needs and they spend their life, angry, grumpy and disillusioned. There is only one God - and it is not them.