By Carol Kinsey
Over the years, my husband and I have looked for teachable moments in parenting. Teachable moments give us an opportunity to drive home an important principle to our children. One memorable teachable moment happened while we were in the process of repairing the electrical switches in our hallway. Halfway through the repair, my husband realized he needed to run to the hardware store. Rather than putting it all back together, he kept the electric circuit turned off, but left the wires exposed.
Our girls were 4 and 6 at the time and even though the fuse was off, we didn’t want them to touch it. We stood beside the light switch, explained the risk of electric shock and told them not to touch it.
Later that day, we noticed the switch had been rotated. Calling both our children to the hallway, we pointed at the wall. “Did one of you touch the light switch?”
After an awkward silence, Autumn spoke up. “It was Breanna. I saw her touch it. I told her not to.”
I’m not sure Breanna remembered if she did or didn’t touch the switch, but she shrugged and said, “Sorry.”
After another lecture on the dangers of an exposed electric outlet, a talk on obedience and a time-out, Breanna’s punishment was served.
Hours later, we got the girls ready for bed and prayed with them.
That’s when Autumn burst into tears. “It was me! I touched the light switch—not Breanna!”
My husband and I listened while she confessed. As parents, we felt terrible. We’d punished Breanna for a crime her sister committed.
In that moment, we had a teaching opportunity.
We reminded our girls that we are all sinners, but Jesus took our punishment by dying on the cross for our sins.
We looked at Breanna. “What you did tonight was kind of like what Jesus did for us. Autumn deserved the time-out because she touched the light switch—but you paid your sister’s penalty.”
“Don’t I get punished?” Autumn asked.
“No, Autumn.” My husband shook his head. “Your sister already took the punishment. Now it’s up to you to accept the gift she gave you.”
We showed them Bible verses that explained how Christ’s death on the cross was the punishment for our sins.
Autumn hugged her sister. She apologized for lying and thanked Breanna for taking her punishment.
Breanna was happy for the hug and let the whole thing go.
Autumn asked God to forgive her for lying and disobeying.
That special teaching moment has stayed with me over the years. Not only was it a great lesson in what Christ did for us, but it was also a special moment in parenting. Parenting is an awesome opportunity to love, teach, nurture, witness and build into the life of another person. In the process, we grow in our own relationship with Christ, learn patience, humility, selflessness and more. What an honor God has given us in allowing us to raise little lives created in His image.
Look for those teachable moments.
About Carol Kinsey
Carol Kinsey lives with her husband and their two daughters on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved in youth ministry for more than 20 years and currently serve at a small country church, which inspired her first published novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple (2013). She has also published Witness Protection (2017), Greater Love (2015), and Until Proven Innocent (2014), and a writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature, which launched in 2016. Carol has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2016. Along with her fiction, Carol is also published in several nonfiction venues. She has a passion for writing exciting, Christ-centered fiction that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to God. For more information, visit carolkinsey.net.