He gave the example of a particular tribe in Africa (I honestly can't remember the name of the tribe - research project?). The women from this tribe were known on the campus where he worked for being obsessed with getting married. The male students were often warned by the other guys which girls were from this particular tribe; if a guy were to ask a gal from this tribe out once, she would press him to marry, and that's all he would hear from them on. (Kind of puts a new spin on getting a degree in MRS, huh?) Well, it turns out that this particular tribe believed that if a woman died unmarried, she would be doomed to wander the earth without any eternal rest. She would even be buried away from the tribal burial site. So of course, this explains her behavior. Her whole being cried out for marriage due to her fear of eternal unrest. (I won't get into the Christian view of this...as that's not the point here...)
Therefore, if we teach our children that they are loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe, and they too are loved unconditionally by us as their parents, and they KNOW THIS IN THEIR BEING as a BELIEF, they are ultimately going to develop values based upon this belief, and act in behaviors based upon the belief and subsequent values. I know it's not as easy as just the way I've stated it (that's where training and discipline comes in), but I think it's a pretty great place to start! Jesus spoke of this often: clean the inside and the outside will take care of itself (in relation to hypocrites -- who ACTED great, but whose hearts were filthy and decaying, rotten, dead...) Their behavior was wonderful, but their motivations were wrong, and eventually that would boil over and become apparent in their actions.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.Of course, Christ is speaking about his ability to cleanse from the inside -- to cleanse us from our sins and unrighteousness. We sure need it! (Romans 3 -- I am filthy, evil, bloodthirsty, dirty, with words like asps and vipers and all.) This must be my goal as a parent when it comes to discipline and training. To aim for the heart of the matter, not the behavior. It changes everything.
Matthew 23: 25 - 28
I hope I did him justice -- he did speak for over an hour after all...
The picture of Ingrid above is particularly appropriate -- she caught a caterpillar in our yard a week ago, so we purchased a little bug-observation jar at Target with the hope that we will be able to observe the transformation through chrysalis to butterfly. Aren't we as parents hoping the same for our children? Our heart's desire for Ingrid and Ilsa is that they would recognize their need for salvation, grasp hold with faith and accept Christ's cleansing! Just like "Katina" -- Ingrid's OWN NAME for her little critter -- it is Greek for pure! Amen!