Friday, October 24, 2008

The parenting lies

The family is under attack.
I think we tend to forget how important our roles in the family are, but, if we look back, we can see that as family bonds and roles have begun to decay, so has society. Of course, this is to be expected, as the bible says this will happen.

Paul tells Timothy that, "In the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." [II Timothy]

The world has tried to convince us that children are sinless, innocent beings, but the bible tells that all are sinners. Many a book has been written advising parents to refrain from discipline. Discipline is a bad word. We shouldn't correct our children, we should let life correct them. They'll learn all they need to know from life. We should just toss them out there, keep a watchful eye, and allow them to learn the lessons from real life experiences. We don't need to protect our children! We shouldn't shelter our children! We don't want to create helpless little beings, do we? We've got to toughen our kids up!

This is even being served up to Christians who eat it all up and wonder why their children are disobedient, disrespectful, selfish monsters who have taken over the household! I'm ashamed to admit that I bought into this lie in the beginning of parenthood.

It is a lie, because the product they said would result from this sort of parenting is not what I saw being produced. What I ended up with was a big mess which I not only had to clean up, but had to REVERSE.

These people seek to twist the words of the bible or disregard them entirely. They aren't interested in the truth. It's lazy parenting, and we can see the end result in today's society- people with twisted values and a lack of morals.

Good parenting requires that you get up from the couch, turn off the TV and get active in your children's lives. It means you do what you say, and say what you mean. You don't allow your children to get away with bad, disruptive, and disrespectful behavior. You take care of it on the spot, without multiple warnings. Don't wait to act after you've raised your voice to a high volume and scolded them time and time again.

Sometimes we're busy, and we don't want to turn away from what we're doing to "nip it in the bud", so we warn our children time and time again, but they know we're not serious enough, so they keep on doing what they aren't suppose to.

Children pick up on inconsistencies. They also recognize when parents disagree, and will play parents (and other family members) against each other to get what they want.

So how do we teach children to be obedient, selfless, charitable, loving helpers who strive to live holy lives filled with passion for God?

First of all, we have to ignore the world's suggestions. We have to portray these qualities in ourselves first. We cannot ask our children to do anything that we have not been willing to do.

Children are very perceptive. They easily pick up on things. We never had to teach our children to be polite in saying please and thank you. It was among the first words in their vocabulary because we, as parents, used them often.

We have to be willing to do a lot of one-on-one character shaping, and we have to be willing to address those less-than-stellar qualities in our own lives and correct them so they are biblically sound.

It amazes me that people think that it's okay to allow the world to "toughen them up". I don't know why any parent would toss their child out into the realities of the world without first preparing their heart, mind, and soul. You don't toss a person into the operating room and expect them to learn how to become a doctor while working on a patient! No! First they learn in a safe environment. They practice. They become informed. They watch others. Then they get the chance to do it themselves.

Our home needs to be that safe environment in which children become informed- where they can watch us, where they can practice, where they are prepared for their ministry and for the world.

I'm not saying we need to hold their hand as they do everything, but children must learn how to behave and protect their minds and hearts before they deal with reality. Our homes should offer enough reality to shape them, without hurting them. Enough to prepare them, but protect them.

If we aren't THERE for our children, they will learn from someone else. As mothers fail to fulfill their duties at home and fathers fail to be leaders of their families, the family begins to crumble. We all have our excuses as to why we don't follow biblical direction, but one day, we will have to account for how we spent our time, and how well we did our duties. Have we doubled our talents? Have we been wise stewards of the blessings we have received?

4 comments:

Megan said...

Mandy,
My name is Megan and I have been reading some of you stuff for quite a while. I have 100% agreed with you on everything that I have read so far. I have no children and honestly I am not ready to get married just yet. I have a steady boyfriend for almost 3 years now, who brings the love of Christ to me with such passion. I just wanted to stop by and say Thank you. Especially this post. I have been going through some struggles here lately but it seems as though you brought me back to where I needed to be. I am a college student, but ultimately I desire to be what you are. A loving, wonderful mother and teacher to my children. I truly believe that is my calling. However, like you mentioned in your post, I have received nothing but objections to my goal. People tell me,"You just want to be lazy and stay home." and I have several people that say that I have no aspirations. To tell you the truth, I get tired of hearing it. I tell you all of this in hopes of some encouragement, and to introduce myself. I thoroughly enjoy reading about your life and look forward to much more to come.

Anonymous said...

peace,

Thank you for saying this! You and I may not agree on some viewpoints, but this entry showed me that I'm not the only one who understands that children absolutely must be trained and actively disciplined- not abused but provided with firm boundaries and rules- from a young age in order to learn obedience.

I'm a teacher; once had a parent ask me why it was that their child would talk back, respond in kind to time outs and discipline, etc. I had to tell (!!) that parent that the child was seeking the natural discipline of the parent's authority. The parent told me that the child would say, 'I'm going to tell Miss Two on you!" and I told the parent that, without yelling, raising my voice, never thinking of EVER touching any child to 'discipline', that the child NEVER behaved in such a way for me- because from the beginning if something is out of line, I deal with it. I have to; I don't have the luxury of letting 30 preschoolers slide into unruly disobedience. Many many teachers, at my religious private school and elsewhere, long to have the students of parens such as yourself- and I haven't read much, but I guess you homeschool, right?

And to agree with Megan- I'm a teacher, and love what I do and my goals, but at the end really really want to be the guardian of my husband's home and my children's hearts as God allows.

May He continue to bless you on your journey.

peace
TwennyTwo

Dharma Momma said...

I couldn't agree more with this post. The best parenting advice I've ever heard came from an odd source. I was watching a show about the Duggar family (the family with 18 kids), and she was responding to criticism that they shelter their children. She said that it's your JOB as a parent to shelter a little bit. Children are like sapplings...you don't plant a tree in a field, and then leave it alone for the elements and forces or nature to 'take their course'. You nurture your sappling, you protect it and help it to grow until it's strong enough to grow on it's own, without you. That's what parenting is supposed to be.

Great post. :)

Arlene said...

You go girl!! People nowadays think parenting means bringing a child into the world. Wrong!! Parenting is what's done AFTER the child is born. Not just the feeding and diaper changing, but the teaching, correcting, molding and shaping of that child. Oh, how I long for the days when parents would just give their kids a look and the children straightened up right away! But like you said, parents need to set the example, and unfortunately that isn't happening in too many households.

To Megan and all the other young women who are chastised for wanting to be stay at home moms, do what the Lord is leading you to do. No matter what you do you'll always have critics. Even Jesus didn't please everyone! The one you have to answer to is the only one you need to please.