It's a Parent Thing

The other day, I found myself doing one of those parent things. You know - something you didn’t understand as a kid but you find yourself doing now as a parent.

It was Wednesday night, and we were on the way to church. We had just been encouraging Jaylin to be reading the New Testament on his own for Lads to Leaders; in the past, we had listened to it together, but we figured that he is old enough to do it on his own now. Plus, it makes for a relatively quiet car ride.

Jaylin was reading from Matthew 5, and he said, “What does ‘surpass’ mean?”

I said, “Why don’t you see if you can figure it out from what the rest of the sentence says.”

So he read Matthew 5:20: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” But he still couldn’t figure it out.

I said, “Part of the word is ‘pass.’ So what does it mean to pass something?”

“To go farther than where it is,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied, “So then what would it mean for your righteousness to surpass the Pharisees’ righteousness?”

“Oh, that it would have to be more than the Pharisees’,” he said, having figured it out.

And then I thought to myself that it would have been a whole lot faster if I had just told him that myself. But somehow my “parent mode” kicked on, making me want him to figure it out for himself, because you learn things much better if you figure it out yourself than if someone just tells you the answer.

I didn’t even know I had a parent mode. I wonder when I got that? And now I am wondering what else it might affect, too. Better watch out!

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.