Monday, August 11, 2008

Pleasant boundaries

As I've said before, my oldest daughter (14), received a cell phone for Christmas this past year. She had been wanting one for some time, but we held off as long as we could, as I think is the smart thing to do with any "fad". She does appreciate it more now that she had to wait.
When we gave it to her, we gave it with some boundaries. Only talking on the weekend and after 9 p.m. (When it is free), no texting, no extras. She has stuck to these boundaries quite well.
As my oldest reaches the teen years, I see the need to parent her more with "boundaries", and not a noose. By this, I mean instead of restricting her to certain things--"You are not allowed to do this!"--I let her "do it", but with boundaries. This way she feels like she has the freedom she craves, yet it gives her the opportunity to "pass or fail" the boundaries we have set. If she "passes", great; if she "fails", then hopefully she learns. This gives room for the Holy Spirit to work in her life. Her father and I are not her Holy Spirit. I think this type of parenting falls into the "grace based parenting" camp, which I love. This is the way our Father parents us, I believe: setting boundaries, letting us "pass or fail" (with much grace and mercy) and we in the process learn things more deeply.
There is a Psalm I am drinking deep of lately: Psalm 16. I am especially intrigued and comforted by this line:

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

What I might perceive as being a noose that the Lord has me in, is actually a "pleasant boundary". It is His holding pattern. It is where He has drawn the line because He loves me and knows what is best for me.
So I will take comfort in His boundaries, for they are "pleasant places". His Word says so.

12 comments:

Christine said...

Our oldest is 8 and we have been allowing more options for him to choose by doing the same thing you are saying- setting boundaries surrounding things he wants to do. He has done very well up until now and I believe he has learned from the times he has failed to remain in the boundaries. Great thoughts today!

Beck said...

This is something for me to think about - I suspect I am mostly just a bossy mom.

laurel said...

Yes, lots to ponder here. I too, want to be a "grace based parent" but sometimes struggle with what that actually looks like. I will spend some time mulling your words tonight...

MacCárthaigh Family said...

Lovely post, hopeful and encouraging. Hopeful for me!

Prairie Chick said...

This was our sermon on sunday. The tree and the fall. God didn't make robots, he layed the world at mankind's feet, set boundaries, and poured out grace when mankind messed up. I'm right there with ya.

Bill said...

Grace Based Parenting is a great book that really just teaches us to parent the way God parents us - in grace and truth.

Anonymous said...

Interesting..thanks for sharing and thank you for the Psalm. Mary Brooke

Mariah said...

I totally agree...having raised two daughters to adulthood, both of whom are serving God, I've learned a few things! Teenage girls needs very clear boundaries. They need certain freedoms, but they also need a tight leash within those freedoms to keep them on the right track. Something seems to snap in their brains when their hormones kick in! When they have boundaries in place, balanced with the freedom to be who they are and express their personalities in a safe environment, they learn to make good decisions and grow up to be beautiful women of
God. We have given our 16-yr-old son a phone, on our plan, with the same boundaries you have and it seems to work well. He knows we trust him within the context of previously communicated guidelines.

-Mariah
www.talkingofmanythings.wordpress.com

Janel said...

Excellent read. That's what we try to do too.

tonia said...

lovely post....much wisdom here, andrea. you are doing a great job!

Lisa said...

I like how you say that you and your husband are not your daughter's Holy Spirit. Our girls are 3, 1, and 3 weeks, so we have a ways to go before phones, but I'm thankful for how God is preparing me for teenagers now. I know I'll need it! Thanks for sharing this, especially the Psalm.

TulipGirl said...

This is very good for me to read. . . My oldest is 12, and we're entering in very uncharted territory for me. And while I believe that it is vital to stay connected with him, continue to communicate the Gospel. . . well, like I told a friend the other day, it's much easier for me to be a protective mother than a trusting mother, and what he needs now is those "pleasant boundaries" and trust and more freedoms than is comfortable for me.