Pendulum Experiment


This may not have been my finest parenting moment. It was what came to mind in the moment though. There is not a script to go by with for each unique situation with kids. Parenting is largely improvisation.

Bully move

I was on the treadmill which is in our family room. Bella, the 6-year-old, is standing in the middle of the room when Madyson, the 9-year-old, walks up to her and shoves her to the ground. I watched this happen. Bella did not instigate this. It was a total bully move on Madyson’s part.

Go to your room

I immediately yelled at Madyson to go to her room. I said I would come up to talk to her when I got off the treadmill. A few minutes later, I walked into her room, dripping with sweat and breathing heavily from the treadmill. She was standing by her dresser. I grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her flat to the ground.

How does it feel?

As I straddled over her I asked her if she was scared. Her bulging eyes told me she was certainly surprised. I said, “The way you feel right now is how you made Bella feel, coming up to her and shoving her for no reason. I don’t want Bella to be scared of you, so I don’t ever want to see you push her like that again. She is supposed to feel her bigger sister will protect her, not be someone to fear.”

How God acts

Then I said, “You know the verse mom and I say to you about God not giving us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind? God does not do things to make us afraid, but to give us power, make us loving, and solid thinking. He treats us that way, so we’ll treat each other that way.” Now, disregard the fact I tried to scare Madyson as I explained this to her. Like I said, this wasn’t my finest parenting moment.

Action for reaction

The lesson wasn’t lost on me, though. I felt God taught me an important insight. He acts for reaction. The response God wants from us is set up by his corresponding activity. It makes sense. However, I often expect certain reactions without setting them up properly. And I wonder why I don’t get the responses I want. If I expect certain outcomes, it would make sense for me to take the corresponding initiative.

Creating reaction

For example, our church works very hard to create an invite culture. We want people to always be thinking about bringing others to our services and events. One way the staff tried to create this reaction was to print business cards with information about the church and a heading that simply stated “You are welcome here.” It is an action that communicates the reaction we want to see. I gave one of these cards to a guy I recently met and he, his wife, and son have come the past three weeks.

By taking action

What outcome do you want from those you are leading? If you are not doing anything to set that outcome in motion, you are not leading, you are simply making wishes. What action can you take that will create the reaction you want to see? Take action to create reaction.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015