“Perfect” Family

Our family is far from perfect. 
Mostly because they won’t do what I tell them to… (… is how most arguments go:)
We all want a perfect family, but people aren’t robots and every time a giant corporation tries to take over the world with robots it never turns out well (in the movies that is). 
The problem is that if my family was perfect there wouldn’t be a place for me either. 
I’m preaching a very earthy, practical series right now of this title and covering such tricky topics as “how to stay married” (you won’t like it, but it might help:) and “how to discipline children” (you’ll like that even less, particularly if you think one shouldn’t “handle” their children too much). 
A perfect family, of course, is a ridiculous goal that only people from broken families wish for. Healthy family is the goal, but health involves such awkward things as growth, and growth IS conflict nearly all of the time. 
Someone who defines a healthy family as one that avoids conflict rather than dealing with actual issues will one day find their family in a coma far from their destiny. 
Training children how NOT to act like animals in a grocery store is no mean feat, particularly when child-sympathizers abound (those who either have no kids or those who haven’t had a real kid yet). 
Just give a silly sympathizer two year old Corey for an hour and their “Boys will be boys. Just let them find their own way…” nonsense will dissipate right around the moment he finds his own way to the isle with matches and “things that light on fire”…. 
Everybody is an expert with other people’s kids, myself included. “Oh, all you have to do is ____”, which they’ve tried fourteen times that day without success. 
If the grocery store is guaranteed to put your name on the short list of “World’s Worst Parent”, try taking them to church. 
Venue is not a great example if we’re talking about young kids because we really REALLY encourage parents to get them in Venue Kids to avoid a holler fest in the auditorium which is a little hard on one’s pride when you’d just told a mom on the guest team “Oh, my child is VERY well behaved because I’m a great parent. They won’t distract anyone from their worship experience!”
Cue child fit… 
My mom took me to a much holier (quieter, more boring:) church than Venue a long time ago that didn’t have great kids programs. I’d actually been quiet during the sermon for more than ten seconds, so she turned around and saw I’d chewed off the top rail of the pew we were sitting on. Cue hasty exit… 
Funny how anyone with more than one child is more than happy to let them have their own kids experience after they check out how excellent it is, but parents with just the one suffer from a funny thing called “I’m the only one who can be trusted with my child because I’ve never lost them at Ikea yet” syndrome. 
Also one could note it’s only church people who demand everybody experience their crying baby. I have yet to see an unchurched parent drag a crying child INTO a theatre play or performance (or church) to dare anybody to say something to them, particularly if the theatre would go out of their way to provide close to the same live experience in a comfy chair by the lobby. 
Church people problems… 
When we started Venue three years ago we had a visiting churched dad pull his perfectly happy kids OUT of Venue Kids and drag them into the auditorium just to prove a point that church was apparently about whatever he wanted it to be. The kids were unhappy of course, created a fuss, and Hero Dad ended up leaving in a huff with his embarrassed family in tow. 
One of my volunteers at the time was so upset by the whole thing he sent me fifty texts along the lines of “Jesus loves the little children so we should let people do whatever they want with them” and then wouldn’t respond to my call where I was going to try something along the lines of “Jesus loves the little children enough to tell us to give them their own worship experience and help their dad actually go to church to worship and not prove a point about how in charge he was on his first day there”. …
… things I wish I’d have said if the volunteer didn’t leave the church over it. I learned my lesson though, now I don’t give my number to people who think I’d actually read fifty angry texts:)
Some people inside church forget church can be a little about them, but not a lot. I recently had a young lady who was new decide not to go through with her suicide plan the next week. Ironically, she decided during a service without a church baby screaming next to her.. Just sayin. 
Family is messy too. There is simply no way of being effective if we can’t learn to politely say no some mindsets, and particularly our own mindsets that we entered with that will not produce the results we want. 
A very expensive psychologist in downtown Calgary told me during our marriage issues something that absolutely shocked me. I had to ask her to repeat it. I had literally never had the thought in my life that my marriage might not “Win”. How could something I’d invested so much in flatline? 
I had to learn how to lose before I could lead other people. I see that now, but the field the lesson was taught in was a nightmare. Thankfully we’re winning now, but I was frightfully naive about some things. 
What if it was more important before marriage to BE the right one than to FIND the right one? 
Imagine dealing with a marriage issue and then putting it behind you so you don’t have to deal with the same issue every week forever? These are things we had to learn how to do. 
Imagine disciplining a child because of their behaviour, and not because of whatever mood you happen to be in? 
Imagine understanding how to build a family legacy that is remembered three generations from now? 
Imaging finding a deeper connection after conflict than you had before? 
There are ways our family have found that don’t require us to be perfect, just honest about our flaws. 
Now we don’t try as much to WIN arguments, we dig down to the TRUTH. 
And that’s the win… 

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