Originally published Friday, 14 June 2013.
"Mommy, mommy look at how fast I can put this puzzle together!," my 6 year old screamed at the top of her lungs.
I hurried into the room to witness and record an official time of the record breaking puzzle completion that had caused such a commotion.
Once she saw that she had my attention, she glanced up at me again and said, "Now watch!"
I watched as she carefully flipped the puzzle over onto the floor in place. Next she placed them, one by one, back onto the emptied puzzled board in the exact same order as she had flipped them. She completed the puzzle in a matter of seconds and boy was she proud! Using this method, it really was record breaking!
Enter dilemma… I had a decision to make. I could simply congratulate her and rejoice in her "success" or I could burst her excitement and explain to her that she had not succeeded, but instead her shortcut could actually be considered cheating.
In all honesty I thought long and hard about this one! She was happy with the job she did and I was in the middle of folding the first of the six loads of laundry that had been blocking my doorway for the last 5 days. Walking away from this one would have been an easy response.
I took a deep breath and decided to break the news.
She was crushed and she melted right before my eyes.
"But it’s so hard that way mommy," she whimpered.
She was correct. Putting a puzzle together can be difficult. It takes patience and concentration. Many times it’s simply trial and error when trying to figure out which three-legged piece fits where. However, to count a puzzle completion as a success you have to start with the pieces completely disarrayed. It’s the true definition of putting a “puzzle” together.
When parenting our children, we have to be committed to setting a standard of truth. We cannot lower the bar or change the rules when we are tired or preoccupied. Whether the task is as simple as putting a puzzle together at six years old or a more complicated scenario like how to handle dishonesty or failure when she's a teen, our first priority is bringing them to a standard of truth- God's truth.
Today, I challenge you to avoid the shortcuts when parenting your children! Don't ignore the dishonesty or lower the standard in areas where they struggle, regardless of how minor it may seem. Challenge them to rise to a level of truth in all areas of their lives now, in order to create a sure path for them to follow when they begin to walk alone.