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What’s Hiding?

What’s Hiding?

I walked around the room with a rubber duck in my hand. I laid it in plain sight on a shelf of the book case. It’s classic yellow face and orange bill pointed to the door where my daughter would skip through in a few seconds.

I smiled in anticipation.

“Heidi,” I called, “Come find the ducky.”

Her eyes sparkled when she came into the room. They went straight to the bookcase where she had last placed the duck. Too young to be in a long hunt, but ripe for its excitement, she loved an easy game. A flicker of confusion puckered her brows. The bright yellow didn’t sit on the second shelf, left side. She turned to look at me. Two shelves above, dead center, the little fellow waited. All at once her eyes landed on him.

“There it is!” she squealed.

Her arms stretched above and her fingers scratched the air. Her shiny brown hair danced. I reached up, plucked it off the shelf and put it into her waiting hands.

Hidden things are usually delightful surprises when children are small, but it doesn’t take long before our wonderful innocents discover the deceit of covering up something they should not.

Our middle daughter hid a trove of unwanted smashed green peas under her dinner plate. Our youngest daughter hid a pile of notes from a boy in her drawer. Our oldest hid a piece of candy she stole.

How do children learn this? Who teaches them to play hide and seek with friends? What prompts the guilty cover up?

It’s in our DNA.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’” Gen. 3:8-10; (NKJV).

Adam and Eve’s disobedience produced immediate guilt and shame for their sinful actions. Fear drove them into hiding. We are the same today. All of us struggle with admitting when we have transgressed. As parents, it’s difficult at times to know how to punish for wrongdoing without encouraging deceit as a result of our child’s fear and shame.

We strive to teach compassion while demanding obedience. We work to train the conscience, not neutralize it, but discipline is a difficult balance. How can we nurture forthright behavior?

The best instruction grows from a foundation of truth.

  • Teach an All-Knowing Father. He knows everything. He sees all. There is nothing hidden from Him.
  • Teach a Loving Father. His love is unconditional. We are happier when we obey Him. He is pleased by our obedience.
  • Teach a Forgiving Father. He forgives if we confess what we have done wrong, repent and turn away from sin.

The lesson of Adam and Eve is a simple but powerful deterrent to misconduct for adults and children.

If I feel I need to hide something, it is probably not something good.

If I feel I must hide an action, it likely is not something I should do.

God’s Word hidden in our children’s hearts however, is a wonderful exception and the best sort of guidance.

  • Psalm 139 demonstrates God’s Omniscience as the Psalmist affirms, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.”
  • 1 John 4:18-19 puts Jesus’ love at the center with “…perfect love casts out fear….”
  • 1 John 1:9 instructs us to confess our sins because, “He is faithful and just to forgive…”

When we implant these truths into the framework of discipline, our children’s perspective of God grows. A solid foundation of knowing God’s character produces sensitivity to sin. Trust deepens. Honest transparency follows.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at  sylviaschroeder.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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