My Senior Pastor has taught me a valuable lesson. It is his #1 rule in ministry. It is a rule that is profound, factual and universally true.
"Normal, rational people will become non-rational and emotional when it deals with their kids, and that includes me. Tread carefully." - Pastor Quintin Stieff
This is fundamental. Normal rational people DO become non-rational and emotional when it comes to their kids. It is a fact. It is time-tested.
Parents are Prone to Irrationality
I am living proof. I have been in a local park when my kids were learning to walk. Rowdy 5th grade boys were playing with large sticks near my kid. I acted irrationally. My God-given role as protector came out. Now, mind you, I did not act outside the character of Christ, I did not utter foul language, yet I
acted (rather re-acted) beyond what was necessary for the given circumstances. Why...?
Normal rational people become non-rational and emotional when it comes to their kids. It is that simple. We should not be surprised when parents act non-rational and emotional when they feel their child is somehow threatened. This is hard-wired. This is in-born. This is God-given. This non-rational and emotional response is a normal phenomenon that supersedes all socioeconomic classes, all educational levels, all people, at all times. It is inescapable.
Ministry and Irrationality
Though it is normal for a parent to act non-rational and emotional in certain situations, it feels utterly abnormal and rather undoing when a mother bear unleashes her fury AT YOU. Here are three basic ideas when dealing with an irrational parent, though certainly not exhaustive:
#1 - Do not take on this battle at this time. The heat of the moment is...well...hot. A hot-tempered moment is NOT the time to point out any irrationality. Keep your cool. Conflicts and volatility are bound to happen. My advice, do not go toe-to-toe with a mother bear robbed of her cubs.
#2 - Leaders
React Respond with Grace and Peace. My initial responses in an irrational-parent situation will determine the ensuing outcome. If I react and get defensive, it goes from bad to worse. If I respond with the heart of a seasoned leader, administering grace and peace, calmer heads will typically prevail.
#3 - We ourselves are beset with this very weakness. As a minister of the gospel, you (and I) should understand and empathize with irrational and sinful people. The Bible says in Hebrews that a high priest taken from among men had a distinct advantage in the ministry - because he himself is a sinner.
He (an earthly high priest) can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. Hebrews 5:2-3
Normal rational people WILL become non-rational and emotional when it comes to their kids. Leaders know this. Leaders are not shaken by this. Leaders embrace this as fact and respond with grace.