The following is excerpted from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child.” Created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael and Amy Monroe, “Created to Connect” serves as a dynamic resource for those looking to draw helpful and encouraging parallels between the Christian faith and the foundational teachings of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®).
Another Chance to Get It Right
Scripture records only two accounts of a charcoal fire, yet these accounts tell two very different aspects of a single story that is particularly instructive for us as both followers of Christ and as parents. Both accounts are found in John’s Gospel (Chapters 18 and 21), and they bookend one of the most well known interactions between Jesus and the apostle Peter. The first account involves Peter’s denial of Jesus just before his death; the second records Jesus’ restoration of Peter following his resurrection.
Peter surely represents one of the most memorable figures among all of Jesus’ disciples. Impulsive, self-assured and outspoken, Peter was never one to hold back. We see this as Peter jumps to Jesus’ defense in the garden the night before his crucifixion. Likewise, in response to Jesus’ prediction that Peter would deny him, we find Peter unwavering in his insistence that he would never do such a thing. But only a short time later, Peter is standing in the temple courtyard warming himself around a charcoal fire (John 18:18) and, when asked whether he is associated with this Jesus who is about to be crucified, Peter denies Jesus not once, but three times, confirming his denial with an oath.
Few accounts in all of the Gospels so vividly evidence our human condition of sin and weakness. And yet, shortly after the resurrection, Jesus encounters Peter—again around a charcoal fire—and fully restores him (John 21). We see this complete restoration on display in Peter’s response to Jesus asking him for a third time, “Do you love me?” (John 21:17), when Peter answers by relying on Jesus’ knowledge of Peter’s own heart. Surely this is the ultimate of connections—to understand that we are fully known and fully loved by Jesus.
This passage in John 21 is a beautiful example of Jesus giving Peter an opportunity to “return to the scene of his crime” and “try it again.” There, beside the charcoal fire, Jesus offered Peter a chance to get it right—a “re-do” of sorts—by professing his love for the Master. It serves as a great model for us as followers of Christ and as parents. The location and manner in which Jesus offered Peter a “re-do” were not accidents. Likewise, we as parents should be just as intentional in offering our children opportunities like this as often as we can. Giving our children the chance to “try it again” and get it right is an effective way to correct behavior, particularly for less serious behaviors. In addition, this approach provides them with “motor memory” for doing the right thing and offers an opportunity for us to give praise and encouragement once they re-do the task or follow the instruction. These outcomes help our children experience doing the right thing and help to deepen our connections with them as well.
Excerpt from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child” created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael & Amy Monroe. Published by Empowered To Connect. Used by permission.
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