Do This, Not That

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Psalm 1 basically tells us that to be happy/blessed, we don’t do certain things and we do other things.

The happy person 
is one who 
does not follow wicked counsel; or linger on the road to ruin; 
or sit among the hecklers’ seats. On the contrary,
 with Yahweh’s torah lies his true joy, mulling over His torah
 by day and night.

Many times in families, and even in church, we’re clear about what we don’t do or clear about what we should do, but we don’t always hold onto both.  But if we think about incorporating Psalm 1 into a parenting model:

  • “Don’t fidget in church” would become “While we’re in church use these pipe cleaners to make representations of what you see in the worship space; or count how many times the pastor says God or Jesus; or close your eyes and pay attention to how the music feels; and try not to fidget so that people sitting near you can pay attention to stuff too.”
  • “Stop picking on your sister/brother” could become “How do you think your sister/brother feels when you say/do those things?  When I feel like I want to pick on someone, I find a place to be quiet and spend time by myself, until that feeling goes away.  Do you think that would work for you?”
  • Telling a teen not to have sex before marriage could be replaced by sharing how to form deep, lasting, intimate friendships that lead to a satisfying long-term marriage within which sex is an important expression of love between two people who have done the hard work of first building the strong foundation for a relationship.

These are just a few examples of how to incorporate the wisdom of Psalm 1 into a parenting model.  What about other family relationships? Consider incorporating the both/and wisdom of Psalm 1 into how you respond to marriage, or caring for an aging parent, or relating to siblings.  What examples would you like to share?

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