John Newton is generally credited with writing “Amazing Grace” based on his reading of the Old Testament as he prepared a sermon about his conversion while on a slave ship in 1748. Here is the first verse:
grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
In the “Teach” category of A.T.I.P. there is an under-used, yet powerful option: Grace. “Grace” has many connotations and interpretations, from the basic descriptive to the deeply religious. But for our purposes here, we look to Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) for some key elements of grace, which refers to a favor of good will by a superior, a pardon, or a temporary immunity granted regardless of actions or deeds. Grace should be distinguished from “mercy”, as mercy refers to relief from punishment that one deserves, while grace refers to being granted a benefit that one does not necessarily deserve.
Some may contend that if a parent grants grace to a child, the parent has run the “risk” of being “soft” by “letting the child get away with” a behavioral transgression. I can see the logic of this contention. But I also have kids (four of them). On most occasions when they have done a big “no-no” there is a whole to-do, rife with resistance, commotion, tears, and the whole works. But there are sometimes those occasions when my wife and I sense that although the kids have indeed done wrong, there is something very sweet, innocent, naïve, and/or remorseful in their hearts and actions. It is on these occasions that we grant grace. The hugs that follow cannot be explained with words. There is a melting of hearts, and the warmth and power of forgiveness is palpable, and, indeed, truly divine.