Remember or Dismember?

Something our pastor said this week really got my attention.

“The opposite of ‘remember’ is not necessarily ‘forget’; it’s dismember.”


As I sat there contemplating his catchy phrase, I kept thinking about all the ways this could apply to my parenting. How many times have I dismembered my own kids because I didn’t choose to remember my goal as a parent?  I want to show them Jesus with skin on.  Right? Yet, how many times have I dismembered my child with a thoughtless word? An ultimatum?  A threat to take away their favorite thing in a fit of fury?

Sometimes it is so easy to be caught up “in the moment” of parenting an ungrateful child or listening to the bickering going on in the family room or even asking them to do something for the umpteenth time that we let words fly from our mouth that should never be spoken.   In reality, we forget what it is to model what we preach.  If we have the Holy Spirit in us, then Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  

The question is do we remember who we are and whose we are?

Do our children see us professing to be Christians but our words, our facial expressions, our tone, and actions say something completely different?  If in that moment we were suddenly being filmed and shown on a wide-screen as we interact with our tweens and teens, what would be the “real parent” that the world would see?

I love it when women are brave enough to ask me how to right a mistake they think they’ve made in parenting.  After the dust has settled and time has lapsed, we realize what we’ve done to dismember a relationship.  After all, we want to remember that the relationship is what we really want with and for our kids.  Don’t we all want them to trust us enough that they come to us in the midst of their struggles?  Don’t we want to continue to have a relationship with them for years to come?  Don’t we also want them to have an amazing relationship with their Heavenly Father?

Last weekend I met one of those brave women  who admitted she had blown it.  As she relayed the story and how she felt, all I could do was empathize.  Been there.  Done that.

She had made the threat,  “I’m going to cancel cable!”  Now that she had had time to sleep on it, she realized,  “But I don’t want to cancel cable.  We all enjoy it and in no way is it connected to the crime.   Now I have to cancel it because I said it.  Maybe I should just turn it off for a period of time to make them think I cancelled it.”

And the “how do I rectify this situation?” was her angst.

Don’t you hate it when you blow it?  You want to do the right parenting thing, but you have to be a mom or dad of your word.  Now what do you do?

  •  Re-engage with your kids, one-on-one
  • Chose to admit that your response was wrong and apologize.
  • Let you kids know if there is something you are going to do differently as a result of your wrong doing.
  • Empathize with how they might be feeling and listen; really listen.
  • Use the opportunity to let your kids know what they are doing right and how much you love them.

And the result?

This brave woman I mentioned earlier couldn’t believe the connection that ensued with her daughter.  She even sent me a paraphrased version of the entire conversation. “I couldn’t wait to share this with you!  God opened major doors with her last night.”

Even when we sometimes dismember our kids, even though unintentional,  we can use the situation to model repentance.  Conflict resolved well creates intimacy.  

Dare you to remember to re-engage next time you dismember your kids, your spouse, or a friend.

“Let go…and let God”,






2 replies
  1. bonbon
    bonbon says:

    Such wise words, Debbie! I’m recalling all those times I made rash comments and edicts with my three who are now adults. Thankfully the apology works, even if made years later. I am so grateful to have good relationships with them today because I was able to admit my mistakes. God is so good!
    Keep writing, friend 🙂

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      Bonnie, you bring up a good point! If you don’t apologize for the offense at the time, God is so gracious in allowing us to reconcile and ask forgiveness when the situation resurfaces. Thanks for the reminder!


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