Are we always honest with our children? I mean do we really tell them truth, particularly about ourselves? Do we tell them about the sin in our lives--what God has cleansed us of, the struggles He delivered us from, the things we are still working with?
I remember when my oldest daughter was about 12 months old, she noticed something "strange" on my leg. Not knowing what it was, but knowing it was different, she would run her little fingers along the edges. At about 18 months old, she'd say, "Flower, Mommy, flower on your leg." I'd tell her that she was right, it was a flower and then she'd look on her own leg, wondering where her flower was. I would tell her that the flower on my leg was a "no-no." And she would repeat, "no-no!"
As time went on and the older she got, the more complex conversations and questions we had about that "flower", which is actually a tattoo of a purple rose.** And the same thing happened with my next daughter, and then with my oldest son, and I'm sure it will happen again with my youngest son. They all have asked (and in my son's case, continue to ask) about that flower: Mommy, who did that to you? Why did you let someone write on you? What did your parents think? Are you sorry you did that? You mean it won't ever come off? Maybe you can erase it. Mommy, maybe you should put a Band-Aid on it. . .
I've made decisions in my life that were not altogether lovely, some of them just downright sinful. But if I close that off from my children, by pretending it didn't happen, then I run the risk of inaccurately portraying myself as "perfect" or "without sin." If I present myself to my children as one who is always right, I can make myself unapproachable for the times when they fail. It is so important to show my children that Mommy is forgiven, meaning I have done some things the wrong way, against God's way, but I have repented and am a living example of God's Grace and Mercy. If I am open and honest and have the difficult conversations about when I'm wrong, I notice that my children are more open and honest when they are wrong.
So, I've explained and shared with my children my faults along the way, as things have come up in life. Not to encourage them to be sinful, but rather to let them know that I am not perfect and I can identify with them during times when they are wrong and need discipline, forgiveness, grace. God disciplines those He loves. . . and I can tell you, I am loved! (Hebrews 12:5-7)
So, I say, tell them. Let us not lie to our children by misrepresenting ourselves. May we present the truth about ourselves (in age appropriate ways, of course!) so that our children are able to know the power of God, that He heals, that He delivers, that He sets free, that He is available to us all, if only we come to Him.