Sunday, October 26, 2008

THe Flip Side

I'm older, so I know my parenting methods don't mesh with many today. However, I was interested to read the blog from Making Home. Check out the link:

1 comment:

dulce de leche said...

You were waiting for my response, right? ;)

Of course I agree with somethings, especially about enjoying our children.

Several things stood out to me, though. The first is that while she is deriding what she perceives to be new-fangled psychobabble, her own philosophy of discipline is only a few decades older. Nearly everything that I read (on other posts as well as this one) was simply based on Victorian cultural attitudes rather than Scripture. As Christians, I think we have to go back to God's Word and not limit ourselves to our own time and culture (or even that of our parents and grandparents.

I noticed that she was emphatic about the sinful nature of little ones, but never addressed sinful attitudes in the parents. I've read so many religious parenting books that subtly encourage the parents to pride, impatience, unforgiveness, selfishness, self-centeredness, and vengeful, spiteful attitudes. How can we produce Godly fruit in our children when we are acting in the same sins (or worse)? No wonder the Bible warns us to watch out for temptation when we go to correct someone. We need to deal with the logs in our own eyes rather than blindly gouging out splinters in our children's eyes. Our actions speak far more loudly than our words.

I was also saddened that while she obviously believes in sin, there was no mention of grace of forgiveness. In fact, I got the impression that she believes that punishment from the parents is the answer to sin. I think we risk making a mockery of Jesus' work on the cross when we believe that we can atone for our own sins and deny grace and forgiveness to our children. Would she respond the same way to adults who occasionally miss the mark? Should we only treat others as we would like to be treated after they reach adulthood?

I was very blessed to see effective gentle discipline in action from a Godly couple over several years. They ministered to many, many kids with patience and grace. So many of these kids were hurting, angry, lonely or frightened, and nearly all were ignorant and obnoxious at times, but they were met with acceptance and forgiveness and taught a better way. They brought out a heart-deep desire for obedience in the kids. It wasn't chaos, but a place of peace and love and joy. I never recall the couple using punishment at all. They didn't yell or hit. But they earned the respect of the children and opened up so many hearts to God's love. I’m talking about you and Don and all the lives you have touched in Children's Church, Sunday School and by simply reaching out over the years.

So you see, it is all your fault that I believe in gentle discipline. You did it and it worked! :D Your loving actions impressed me far more than the words on her blog. I know we see this issue very differently, but I still have learned so much from your wonderful example, and I am grateful. Much love to you!