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Holding your child accountable is part of a legitimate spiritual skillset called parenting that does pay off in the long run. Cf. the prodigal son’s father, who held his son accountable by allowing him to make a bad decision he demanded to make which could only result in failure, watching him fail, and then staying out of his way while he gnawed on the bitter fruit of his failure. If many of us today were in that dad’s shoes we would have:
1. Given him only a small portion of the inheritance now and told him the rest is in a trust that can’t be touched until he’s 30. (In an effort to protect him from himself.)
2. Followed him into the far country…or at least tracked him by the gps on his phone. (In an effort to protect him from others).
3. Put alerts and spending limits on his account so he couldn’t waste all of his money on riotous living. (In an effort to protect him from financial failure).
4. Rented him a room and given him a food allowance just before he got to the pig pen. (In an effort to protect him from poverty/hunger…and perhaps spare our own reputation as well).
5. Given him a ride back home and paid his living expenses for a year to help him get back on his feet while he looked for a job. (In an effort to protect him from insignificance).
All this would have frustrated the divine plan to use this prodigal episode to change this young man’s heart.
If you’re currently holding your child accountable for his decisions and actions while being a resource for her when she repents then you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing as a responsible parent. You may seem mean and harsh to the rest of the world but you stay the course, it will bless your child in the end!
Claim your child’s success even when you see him headed to the hog pen. Declare that the hog pen will cause her to come to herself! That it will provide the moment of clarity he needs to turn his life around.