Earlier this month I heard Chris and Stacie Hatchett give a presentation on parenting. One of my takeaways from their talk was being a “shock-proof” parent. Shock-proof parents are those who play it cool when ridiculous or even offensive words come out of their kids’ mouths. I instantly realized how often my own reactions to such comments take the form of shock: “WHAT did you say?” “You did WHAT?” “EXCUSE ME MISTER?!?”
The Hatchetts make the great point that if we are shocked by every crude or inappropriate thing our kids say, they’ll be less and less likely over time to share openly with us. They will stop trusting us. We will cease to be a safe person with whom they can share.
Instead when we hear those kinds of things from our kids we should say – with a chill face, “Oh, really? Tell me about that.” And then gently instruct them after we have sought first to understand.
Being shock-proof is not only a great skill for parenting; it also has great application for living on mission.
A couple days ago I went to a bar/movie theater with a Missional Community leader in Storyline to scope out a “third place” (= social hubs where people gather outside of home or work) in his neighborhood where he and his wife might begin to hang out regularly.
We decided to attend one of their social events so that we could meet some new people. The only social event they host that doesn’t involve simply sitting with people you came with is a weekly game night featuring the game “Cards Against Humanity.”
I’d never heard of the game before this game night but apparently it’s the “adult” version of Apples to Apples. And by Adult I mean, Adult. Raunchy, crude, dirty…that kind of Adult. The kind you have to take a shower to clean off from after playing.
The people we played with were very nice and seemed very comfortable and amused by the game’s humor. Me, on the other hand – I found myself having to check my cheeks for blushing and hold back inward wretching occasionally…all while trying to play it cool.
It dawned on me in the midst of the game – this is great training for mission.
Because what we need are shock-free Christians. People who can walk into seedy situations, stare brokenness in the face, and not be alarmed. People who can love people and gain their trust in the midst of whatever shocking stuff they might throw our way. And then speak into their lives as God gives us a hearing with them.
This seems like the way of Jesus to me. He was, after all, accused of being a drunkard and a glutton. He hung out with the outcasts and “sinners”. The Son of God, sent from the Father, having lived in holy divine community, was amazingly able to enter into our brokenness and not flip out. He was shock-proof.
I wonder what it would be like to play Cards Against Humanity with Jesus and some searching friends.
What are the challenges of being a shock-free Christian?