Our guests were set to arrive in two days, and the house needed to be cleaned from top to bottom. I walked into the playroom and saw a disaster. Every bin was out, and I was beside myself. I stormed up to my kids and laid into them. They looked shocked. Halfway into my lecture, I heard my wife’s faint voice from our room, “It was me.” I spewed a few more words before thinking, “What did she say?” That’s when she came in and explained that she was reorganizing the room. I swallowed hard and then slowly turned back to my kids. A subdued smirk and peaceful satisfaction rested on their faces. “Sorry,” I said, “I didn’t realize it was Mom. I guess I jumped to the wrong conclusion.” They continued to sit there feeling victorious. I paused and then said, “Now go clean your rooms.”
Jumping to conclusions happens every day. We have to make little split second decisions all the time, and we can’t be expected to sift through all the information for each of them. But there are ways jumping to conclusions makes us wrong in ways that cause us to lose credibility. We can’t jump to conclusions when it can affect our relationships, especially with our kids. Examining the reasons we do it can help us avoid it. Here are 5 reasons dads jump to the wrong conclusions with their kids.
1. We assume.
There are several things we assume about our kids that lead us to jump to conclusions that are wrong. We may assume the worst of them. As the opening story revealed, I am guilty of this. I saw a mess and, based on past experience, assumed my kids made it and jumped all over them. We can also go the opposite way and assume our kids are angels incapable of doing anything wrong. Then we miss opportunities to discipline and correct. Rather than assume, be informed. Seek the info or your wrong conclusions could be costly. That’s why Ecclesiastes 10:13 says, “Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness.” Feel free to add a Boston accent to the end of that verse.
2. We project.
One of the biggest ways we jump to the wrong conclusion is by projecting our own experience or the decisions we’ve made onto our kids. We made a ton of mistakes growing up, so we believe our kids will make the same choices. This is understandable. After all, they do have our DNA. But at the same time, they are uniquely different. Just because they possess similar traits doesn’t mean they will follow the same course we did, good or bad. Study your kids. Never stop learning about them rather than projecting your life onto them. Discovering who they are will do nothing but improve your relationship with them.See your kids for who they are today and not who they used to be.
3. We don’t see the growth.
You’re probably not the same person you were in high school. Experience, knowledge, and even pain have given you wisdom and maturity. Isn’t it frustrating though when people still view you as your high school version? But we do that to our kids. They grow and mature, but we still see our little ones who used to struggle in particular ways. Maybe we even label them based on those struggles. I know I’m guilty and have heard, “Dad, I haven’t done that in three years!” See your kids for who they are today and not who they used to be.
4. We rely on faulty or limited information.
People will typically tell you a story that presents themselves in the best light, even when they’re confessing—including our kids. When they’re telling you a story or someone else is speaking about them, especially if there are potential consequences involved, you might not get the whole truth. Relying on faulty sources of information can lead to disaster. So can relying on limited information. One day, I scolded my son for hitting his sister. What I didn’t know is that she hit him first, and I was seeing the retaliation.
5. We’re lazy or just tired.
Sometimes we just want to get things done quickly. Your kids are fighting for the tenth time, and you want quick resolution. It’s exhausting, I get it. I’m the biggest offender at trying to resolve matters in my house quickly and with the least amount of effort. But when we jump to incorrect conclusions because we haven’t been diligent to gain understanding and do the work necessary, it will only lead to reoccurring problems and perhaps even bigger ones. That’s why Proverbs 13:4 warns, “The lazy man’s desires remain unsatisfied, while the diligent gain wealth.” It’s not just talking about material wealth. Your hard work with your kids today will pay off tomorrow.
Sound off: What are some other ways jumping to conclusions hurts us?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Tell me about a time you changed your mind. What made you change it?”