“I always loved him more after he had scolded me than I did at any other time.”
– Ralph Moody, Author (Taken from Little Britches)
Ralph’s father put out his hand and offered him partnership. Ralph was a little 9-yr-old boy whose family moved from New York to Colorado to be ranchers a couple years prior. He developed a love for working and was hired by a neighbor rancher to contribute to the family’s needs.
But his little desire got the best of him and he snuck a chocolate bar out to the barn one night, figuring, “Really, I bought this with my work.”
But his dad followed him out to the barn after bedtime to stop him from indulging. Ralph’s eyes filled with tears when his father said, “Son, if you’d have asked, I’d have given the whole thing to you.”
What happened next is what made me cry.
Ralph’s father spanked him and told him that he’d have to split their money and give Ralph his share to do with as he pleased. Ralphed cried because of the pain of disappointing his dad and distance it would seemingly bring.
Then, his father did the unthinkable.
He gave Ralph another option. But he’d need to be able to trust him. Holding out his hand of pride, forgiveness, honor and delight, his father offered Ralph partnership. Little 9-yr-old Ralph wept from the delight of restored fellowship.
Little Britches is a 1954 novel based on the life of Ralph Moody. Don’t you just love the example of discipline and delight Charlie displays? And little Ralph’s response… isn’t that the kid in all of us? Feeling the pull to please our Father and won more by delight and trust than the intense push of demanding performance.
Unfortunately, the time and attention Ralph received from his father doesn’t line up with our cultural norms. But, your story… my story… our kids story’s endings are yet to be penned.
Could it be that the way we discipline and delight in our children affects not only our stories and that of our kids, but also provokes our neighbors and helps disciple a generation to the beauty of a life of worship?
A Father’s Delight
Ralph’s source of commitment and dedication was fueled by his father’s delight. I want to make a suggestion to you… you are Ralph. You’re the little guy, the little gal joyed by the sense of partnership, dignity and trust your Father places in you.
Staying connected to the Father’s heart of delight is the wellspring of your delight.
The old adage, ‘You can’t give what you don’t have!’ is our case in point here. Recognizing my own shortcomings and immaturities, it becomes easy to think of all the ways I ought to pursue more. But His delight in you is not based on your performance. Aspects of His delight do come from your response to Him in your lifestyle. But, He is able to delight in your relationship itself and who you are because of Christ’s finished work on the cross.
It was His delight to adopt you as a son or daughter because that is who He is. When we stay connected to His delight, we’re actually transformed to become like the One-Who-Delights.
“…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…” Ephesians 1:5
You can delight in your son or daughter regardless of their maturity level. When they are one, seven, eleven or sixteen, you can enjoy and delight in who they are. Hence, maturity does not hinder delight.
Spend a few moments in quiet talking to the Lord about His delight. Ask Him about delighting in you. What does He feel when He thinks about you. Journal the sense that you get. Then, think on how this might affect the way you feel about your kiddos.
The more you and I connect to the Father’s delight, the more we will embody it. Happy delighting!