Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spare the Rod

(Addendum: Yes, I’m placing an addendum at the beginning. Nate told me to wait a day to post this. He said it sounded angry. With respect for his opinion, I deleted some things to soften it up a bit. But guess what, I am angry, this isn’t my normal tone for my blog… but sometimes we’re angry and the blog is a great outlet… carry on and ignore the anger. By the way, I don’t see the anger in the post.)

I’m not sure where this is going to go and I don’t know where to start… all I know is…this has been one hellacious trek up the hump to Wednesday and I’m looking forward to the ride down. Be prepared as I may rant. The stress of this week has given me a headache for three days. That headache, does not work well with the stress going on in my head. It is a VICOUS cycle.

My week started Monday with repercussions of participating in Halloween, which is another story for another day. Landing me on Tuesday with parenting issues that make me crazy! And here we are on Wednesday with a bunch of reflecting bungled up in my head.

Parenting has always been a big thing for me, even before I was a parent. I had my own issues growing up with my parents, I worked with parents and children in family services, and I watched my friends and family members struggle along raising their little ones. It is no secret; Nate and I even considered not having kids for a long time. We didn’t want to give up our lives and children these days seemed too out of control.

There are certain behaviors that many kids today are getting away with that we find completely unacceptable. Before we had children, we said our kids would not behave the way others were behaving. We still stand by it today… it is just a little harder right now. I stand with the school of thought that children are born evil. They do not have to be taught to be selfish, deceitful, foolish, or flat out little liars. They’re born this way. This is our nature. This is who we all are in our core. That’s why we need a Savior. I liken the raising of our children to God’s disciplining of His children. We are on the wrong path from the beginning and His loving rod leads us to the right path… and occasionally whacks us when we fall off that path. He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Proverbs 13:24

So where is the love parents? What are we doing! We are so messed up in this culture that regards self-esteem instead of esteeming God that as parents we are lost in what is good and Godly for our children. We were raised in this culture of high self-esteem. We’ve been taught that spanking and discipline will harm our children. What God says is conflicting with what Dr. Phil and an entire world of experts says. We are teaching our kids that if all your friends have it then you will too! We’re teaching them to not respect authority by challenging their teachers that Little Johnny would not do that! There are no consequences for behavior. I swear! Through all this preaching, I’ve come to the conclusion that the failing economy and the rate of foreclosures can all be chopped up to BAD PARENTING!

That is so not where I was going with this. I was going to rant about how hard it is to do the right thing for your child’s future instead of what’s easy today. But, it needed to be said, so I’ll leave it there.

I read a lot about parenting because like I said, we feel kind of lost in how we were raised and how God meant for it to be. I’m often shunned for my structured sleep and eating schedules and my desire to provide my children with stability. (I’m a semi-Baby Wiser!) I never get it, because that’s what they need. I want to do what’s best for my kids, not “what didn’t hurt us.” That’s why I suffered through the process of breastfeeding for a year even if it meant no freedom for me. We’re home by 7:00 most nights, because they need their sleep. And now that the time for discipline has begun, I’ll do the same thing…sacrifice and consistency. It’s not about what makes them happy today, but what is best for them in the long run. Permissive parenting is evil, and I pray that God does not allow me to fall into such a way… because it would be so much easier than doing it His way.

It’s hard to sum this up; I could literally go on for days about this stuff. I knew from the beginning parenting would not be easy. Not only would it not be easy, but also it would be the hardest job I ever took on. Another life is in my hands. The decisions I make today affect who she is in eighteen years, oh crap, sixteen…. Time’s running out! Can we prepare her to be the responsible, mature, respectful, humble, God fearing, independent adult we want her to be?

Maybe I should have her hearing checked…

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J.Rat. said...

You're all right. I've sat here for the past 1.5 hours listening to Anna talk, fuss, grunt, and cry a little because at 5 months, she's refusing to nap. She will eventually fall asleep. Our biggest critics at the Ratledge household has been our family. With the Sponge Bob won't hurt her. Go wake her up I want to see her. I, her father, don't care what you want, and if you push me, I'll punch you in the face. You're not the only one struggling with this. Breastfeeding is a beast, and I'm not the one who is doing it. One last thing, Dr. Phil, doesn't have a license to practice, so "he can go on and get the hell on, him and his momma." (OutKast, Ms. Jackson, with a few pronouns changed here or there.) Have a blessed day, say a prayer for yourself, and roll on.

Michelle said...

Thought this was worth adding:

Obviously, children are no longer reared as were children in the 1950s and before. What caused this change?

Beginning in the 1950s, American parents were bombarded with messages from the media which caused them to mistrust, then reject, the scripture-based child rearing that had defined American culture up until this time and to instead embrace a pseudo-scientific, secular point of view promoted by psychologists and other mental health professionals. This point of view - anchored by the anti-scriptural concept of self-esteem (see Matthew 16:24-25) - became dominant in the mid-1970s. This ideology is completely antithetical to scripture-based child rearing. For example, it places the mother-child relationship above the husband-wife relationship (Gen. 2:24), it asserts that the child is without sin when he/she comes into the world (Psalms 51:5), and demonizes as being psychologically harmful any and all discipline that causes discomfort to the child (Hebrews 12:11). As such, it has wrecked havoc on the family, the community, and the culture. In Colossians 2:8, Paul the Apostle warns us against this very sort of thing: "See to it," he says, "that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ." As usual, we failed to heed the warning, thinking it not even applicable to these enlightened times.

Tony C said...

I'm glad you decided to use the entire verse in Proverbs and not just the idiom 'spare the rod spoil the child'...which is not in the scriptures.

The word 'rod' here is the same Hebrew word used in Psalms 23 'Your rod and Your staff comfort me.' Looking at how a shepherd used the staff (the long pole with a crook) and the rod, it is my understanding the rod was used to poke or prod the sheep to encourage them to stay the course of safety. The rod wouldn't be used to beat the sheep, which were valuable commodities.

In contrast, I've also heard/read that shepherds would resort to breaking the leg of a constantly straying lamb to keep them from harms way. Now I'm not by any means advocating breaking a child's leg as a means of discipline, but it does show there are varied degrees or measures sometimes necessary to discipline our children especially to keep them safe.

Lastly, I had an instructor in Child Behavior Management who advocated corporal punishment (based on Biblical principles) until the age where a child fully understood expectations and consequences when voiced verbally (normally around 3). He felt there was enough research to indicate physical discipline after this age wasn't as effective as other means.

Good points for discussion.

Michelle said...

Glad you described the purpose of the rod for the shepherd. I believe many people do not have this understanding. The rod is used for guidance most of the time, but may be used physically if needed. Most of my parenting ideas come from Dobson, Kevin Leman, and I'm really wanting to read Parenting By the Book by John Rosemond. They all believe in corporal punishment (based on biblical principles) in certain circumstances and as a last resort. I believe Dr. Leman states corporal punishment is should not be used after around 7. Looking back on my upbringing, I really understand their ideas in parenting.

The main focus I believe should be consistency and to emphasize discipline and not punishment.