We have a cool opportunity to speak life and truth into our children’s lives. Like when Abram had no children and God said he would be a father of many nations, there are times in our children’s lives when we must “call things that are not as though they were.” For example, let’s say your three-year-old son is going through a hitting phase. You can call him a superhero. He will be confused at first, but you can talk about the superpower of gentleness which is controlled strength and power. He is not exhibiting gentleness, but it may be because he doesn’t know how to tap into that superpower. You can talk through scenarios in which he has the option to use his strength to help someone or to hurt them. Compare him to Superman, the Hulk, and Captain America when he does the right thing and chooses to use his strength to help. Praising kind and gentle behavior will help him be less inclined to be violent and hurt others.
Another example of “calling things that are not as though they were” is when your daughter is two years old and keeps pulling the dog’s tail. Instead of saying, “You are such a mean and cruel little girl” (though through her actions she is being mean and cruel), you can say she is a kind girl and a girl who helps. You will then have to show her how to be kind and be a helper. Give her opportunities to help with the dog and show him love like feeding him and petting him. When she can be kind to the dog and does it, make sure she can feel and hear your approval and that will reinforce the kind behavior.
When we are concerned about our children’s behavior, we must first pray for God to change it in them but also give them creative ways to think through right behavior and reward them for making right choices.
As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father int eh sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Romans 4:17
Take some time to pray for whatever your child is struggling with right now. Ask for God to show you creative approaches to training your child to change this behavior in a way that will honor Him and empower your child.