Why I Don't Want My Kids To Be Good

I have a confession. I don’t want my kids to be good. Friends sometimes comment on how “good” my children were in a particular situation. “You have such good kids.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s sometimes easy to take a little pride in that. “Why, of course I have good kids, look at my awesome parenting skills!” But, when I really stop and think about it, I don’t particularly want my kids to be good.

Grace-based parenting: Why I don't want good kids
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When people look at my kids and comment that they are good, what they mean is that my children have had appropriate outward behavior. They’ve sat quietly at a meal in a restaurant. They’ve been helpful with younger kids at church. They’ve been polite when addressed. It’s all about the outward things they’ve done.
The fact is, my kids can have these “good” outward behaviors but still be sinful in their hearts. A child can conform outwardly because they don’t want to be punished; they want a reward; they want to be noticed. But, in their heart- the place that really matters- they don’t want to obey and do what’s right. They have a bitter attitude. They are selfish. And when they no longer have an outward reason to be “good”, their behavior will change to reflect what’s in their heart.
So, what do I want as a parent? I want a child whose heart’s desire is to know and follow Christ. I want a child who is honest with me about what is in his heart, who feels free to talk to me about the wrong desires she has instead of just covering them up and pretending to be good. I want a child who doesn’t seek to just conform on the outside but who has a real desire to do what it is right because he wants to glorify God.
Grace-based parenting: Why I don't want good kids
When I focus on outward behavior and praise my child for being “good”, I can unwittingly encourage this outward conformation without ever touching the heart of my child. If all we ever talk about is how “good” she looks on the outside, then she’ll never need to deal with the desires of her heart.
Instead of that outward focus, I want to encourage my child to examine his heart. I want him to think about his actions in light of what God wants him to do and to be. And if his heart’s desires are right and in line with God’s will for his life, I won’t have to worry about the outward “being good.”
Grace-based parenting: Why I don't want good kids
So, if you tell me what a “good” kid I have, I’ll thank you and agree. But my kids know that I want something more than just a good kid. I want a kid whose heart attitude is to glorify God in everything she says and does, in all her interactions and reactions. I don’t want my kid to just “be good.”

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