Tag Archives: responsibility

Guest Post – Parenting

I have been crazy busy over the past couple of weeks.  Trying to keep a daily exercise program, baseball season for Nick, home-schooling, fulfilling my role as CFO for our company and just taking care of our home, as left sporadic times for writing.  I’ve got a few blogs in the works, and will be posting again soon.  Meanwhile, I do read several other blogs in my morning coffee time, and this one sounded like something I would write.  I always enjoy this blog, and today I thought it was something you would enjoy as well…

Here is a link to it on the Church & Culture site

http://www.churchandculture.org/blog.asp?id=1729

Or you can read it here as well –

Home > Resources > Blog > The Under Protective Parent

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last weekend, I launched a series of talks under the title “The Under Protective Parent.”

 The thesis was simple: there is much talk in our day about avoiding being “over protective,” but little to no talk on being “under protective.”
It’s a significant cultural question.
Let’s go back a few decades.
In the 1930s and 40’s, parents and families were conventional, strict, focused on appearance. Then, in 1946, came a book titled Baby and Child Care by a man named Dr. Benjamin Spock, an American pediatrician.
A book which continues to shape us to this day.
Building off of the field of psychoanalysis, Dr. Spock told parents to loosen up, back off, and let the child go. Be more flexible. Treat them as individuals. While he admirably called for love and affection, he often paired that against discipline and control.
Tell your child they are special, loved and unique.
Don’t ever spank them.
Feed them whenever they are hungry.
Don’t try and put them on a schedule.
By 1998 it had sold more than 50 million copies and been translated into 39 languages. Many critics felt that the proof of his advice was in the pudding. They quipped, “What do you get when you raise a generation on the permissive ideas of Dr. Spock, saturate them with rock and roll, introduce them to drugs and alcohol, overshadow them with the threat of nuclear holocaust, and then tell them that God is dead?
The sixties.
Whether that was a result of new parenting styles, or simply the way of the world, the parenting pendulum had swung. From hands on to hands off; from discipline to persuasion; from moral authority to moral influence. And while we may have backed off from some of the more radical ideas Spock put forward that our parents and their parents embraced, here’s what stuck:
The one thing you don’t want to do as a parent is be “over” protective. And we’ve attached all kinds of pejorative words to it.
Hovering.
Smothering.
Babying.
Coddling.
Sheltering.
But it sends a very strong message by insinuation: it’s wrong to be over-protective, but it’s not wrong to be under-protective. If you’re going to make a mistake, make a mistake in being loose, in playing fast and free, in not protecting enough.
Because the one big parenting sin is protecting too much.
Really?
In a world of sexting and Facebook, bullying in schools and internet porn, the Jersey Shore and OC, cutting and hooking up, is it time for hands off or hands on? Time for more Spock, or something else?
Nobody wants to raise kids who are so sheltered that they are socially arrested or incapacitated, or have a parenting style that’s so heavy-handed that it invites resentment and rebellion.
But in our fear of being over-protective, we’ve been under-protective.
We let culture dictate what is normal; if “everyone” is doing it, wearing it, seeing it, going to it, or listening to it, then we feel we will be doing our child damage if we don’t go along.
But parenting by “everyone” is madness.
And if we do it, we’re putting our children’s very childhood at risk.
The assumption with parenting is simple: your children are immature and need your maturity. Yet some parents are more eager to be liked, or accepted by their kids, than they are to be parents to their kids.
So instead of being active, they’re passive.
And in so doing, they drop their protective guard.
The very idea of childhood is that there is a time when a young person is sheltered from certain ideas, experiences, practices, expectations and knowledge. They are sheltered from adult secrets, particularly sexual ones. Certain facets of life – its mysteries, its contradictions, its tragedies, its violence – are not considered suitable for children to know. Only as they grow into adulthood are they revealed in ways that they can assimilate psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
This is why for years the books that were read in the fourth grade or seventh grade or ninth grade were chosen not only for their vocabulary and syntax, but because their content was considered to contain fourth, seventh or ninth grade information, ideas and experiences.
But when the line between the adult world and the child’s world becomes blurred, or no longer exists, childhood disappears.
So we let our eight-year-olds watch Modern Family or Glee;
…we let our girls dress provocatively and begin dating at ridiculously early ages;
…we ignore the fact that our kids have lied to get on Facebook (you have to be 13), or even lied for them;
…we let “godaddy” commercials come and go without comment, or even changing the channel, while watching the game with our sons;
…we have no idea what Rhianna, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga is singing to them on their iPod;
…and we don’t screen friends.
So am I saying that children should be naive? With all that is in within me, yes! That is what childhood is for. A time for wonderful, beautiful naivete and innocence.
So what should a properly protective parent do?
It’s not complicated:
Be informed, involved and in charge.
To be informed is to know what is going in your child’s world. You know what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with.
To be involved means that you are part of their world. You are not a spectator, you’re a participant.
To be in charge means you are leading their world, creating their world, shaping their world.
This is the difference between being simply a mother or a father,
…and being a parent.
James Emery White
Sources 
Benjamin Spock, Baby and Child Care.
Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood.
You can obtain an mp3 file of the first talk in this series on the Message Downloads page.
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Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

I started home schooling out of desperation, but I have continued out of conviction.

Right before I took my 7th grader out of public school all those years ago,  I had been substituting at a couple of middle schools.  My experiences in those schools were not pleasant. Things had changed drastically since my days of puberty, and it was not for the better.

I home-school because I want my son to learn without distraction.  I want his ears to be  sensitive to profanity and his heart to be soft to injustice.  I want to teach him that it’s God’s Word that matters most, not the most popular kids word…I want my son to know that God is in every single thing in his life, and it’s his very ability to learn that comes from Him.

I home school because I believe that all children deserve to learn in the way they were created and at the pace that their brains can keep up with.  I don’t teach to a test, and we don’t move on until there’s complete understanding.  The time will come soon enough when meeting the status quo will matter, but it’s not in adolescence.

I have learned that when you teach to a child’s heart, knowledge and understanding will follow.  Grades are just a way to see what we still need to learn.  They are not the defining mark of any child.  Their character is.

I have totally selfish reasons for home-schooling as well.  I love the schedule of it.  I love planning activities with my son, and going on field trips.  I love implementing life responsibilities in our education, and I just love being a part of the whole process… We rarely run out of time for the things that matter, because it all matters.

I believe that the public school systems do have the children’s best interest at heart.  I also believe, unfortunately, that their interest can only be diluted when you have the increased population in the classroom, and the varying, ever changing, opinions of those in control.  It is a government entity that has taken too big of an influence in our lives, in places where it has no business.

I choose to home school.  I take it seriously.  I don’t judge you if you choose not to, but I do admonish you to talk to your child about their day at school.  I implore you to be pro-active with your child’s studies. Get to know your child’s teacher.  They would probably appreciate your support!  Know what they are learning and be involved.   It’s your right as a parent.  You are your child’s best advocate, and their character development is up to you.

When all is said and done, and the diploma is hanging on the wall, the adult that your child becomes is really up to them.  We can only do what we can.  As I have said before…faith, hope, love and prayer will always be yours long after control and influence have expired.  Take comfort in those and know that God loves your kids more than you do. Really.


Tough Tuesday…Dating

Yep. I said it, and I’m pulling out my soapbox to blog about it… Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

I have this dating thing on my mind because it is a hot topic around my house, and has been for some time. With 4 kids, aging from puberty to adult, we have had many conversations on this topic, as well as survived all kinds of situations, either personally, or through close friends…

I dated a lot in my day… I never really saw anything wrong with it either, until I really started noticing how many broken families and broken hearts there are in this world. The stats for divorce, unwanted pregnancies, and STD’s are staggering, and could be blog postings on their own…It’s hard to NOT notice how much the sexual revolution has progressed. Dating has changed, and it’s not for the better…The almighty “me” is reigning and it’s leaving devastation in it’s wake.

What is dating anyway? Webster says, An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest. Most folks would agree with that, although, the definition of “interest” can be defined many different ways. It used to mean that you would be looking towards a possible marriage partner, but most of the dating today doesn’t seem to have that goal in mind. It’s become more and more about satisfying our own lusts and desires, without the thought of consequences or the future.

Our society has lowered the bar to the acceptable dating age, and many parents seem to be OK with it.. Some parents even think it’s harmless and cute. Some can argue that it helps kids in deciding what type of person they like, and, that they need to experience those differences to be well rounded. Quite frankly, I think that is ridiculous. A child in middle school, or younger, does not know what kind of spouse they want. They don’t even know what kind of person they are going to be! Jumping from relationship to relationship is not going to help them figure any of that out.

So what do kids learn from dating? All this “practice” teaches them that people are replaceable. If things get hard, it’s time to quit. If something better comes along, well, it’s time to move on. It’s all about how “I” feel. If I’m not satisfied, then it’s over. How many little pieces of a heart can be passed out before all that’s left is so incomplete that it doesn’t work right anymore. By the time they do get married, they have already learned how to walk away. Broken hearts are the norm, almost a “right of passage”, not the exception. Where is the training in unconditional love and commitments, or better yet, covenants?

As a family with Christian values, I have told my kids time and again, that if God is sovereign over everything, that includes your future spouse. You do not need to “try” out relationships with several different people to see if they are the one. You need to be praying for your future spouse now, and have faith that God will bring you together at the perfect time, and you will know it. Of course, our kids haven’t always listened to us.  The world is constantly screaming just the opposite, through music, television, and the movies. Even Disney thinks kids should be focused on relationships… Poor Zack and Cody were even scripted in elementary school to chase girls.

Teach your kids to just be friends. Teach them to pray for their futures and to seek God’s will for their lives. When those hormones rear their ugly heads, affirm them, and help them take control of it… and not let those hormones take control of them. Communicate.  Healthy relations start with God, then families, and friends. Romance will then have a runway that’s paved accurately.

If you are a parent that has encouraged young dating, STOP IT. Culture is wrong on this one. Look around and see what this out of control sexual desire has gotten us. It all starts somewhere. (1 Thes 4:3-5)

If your kids are older, and are already out in the dating world, or, if you yourself are in it, let me offer some advice. One of the things we had our kids do as they got older, was to prayerfully make a list of the qualities they would want in a spouse. We then told them to strive to BE the person, that person would desire as well… Anyone who fell short to that list, should simply remain a “friend”. God will not only satisfy your list, but he will bless you with someone who has qualities you never even thought of…

The hardest part is waiting. Patience in the world of relationships is almost unheard of. But think about this, it only takes a minute to recall your heartbreaks, no matter how long ago they were. Don’t we want better for our kids? Who they marry is one of the most important decisions they will make in their life.  Shouldn’t we be preparing them for it?  Be pro-active and teach self control. It will be worth it.

If your reading this, and your heart is still in pieces, and you feel you don’t have much left to give, don’t give up! God is a full restorer of hearts. It’s His speciality. Give it all to Him and let your healing begin… (2 Cor.5:17)

There are many resources available for your kids and for you on this topic. One of my favorites is, Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships, by Chip Ingram. You can find this at http://www.livingontheedge.org


A Week in the Life…

This week was eventful and uneventful…

My mood ranged from ecstatic to forlorn… stressed to carefree, and disappointed to satisfied.  You could say it sounds like I’m a mom, but I can’t monopolize the roller coaster, as anyone could have a turn…I will share some of my week, in hopes that you can relate and share yours with me.

I finished a book (Weird) and started a new one (Heaven is for Real), and went to my women’s group study to watch a Beth Moore video, and fellowship. I made it to a few business appointments that went well, and learned some things about the community where I live.  I participated in lively conversations about homosexuality and christianity, as well as government and morality, and didn’t loose any friends in the process.

One of my kids needed lots of reassurance, and one needed hope, one needed cash and they all needed time.  I visited a doctor, and a hospital, and watched my sons be brave.  I met a “new” potential girlfriend, that I actually really liked, and I had a couple soul searching conversations about the future.  My daughter surprised me with her new tattoo and then I had to social network my “approval” of it…

I ate really well this week, and was rarely alone.  I had a few fabulous lunches, with good friends, and even a date night with my handsome man.  Some marvelous live music was part of the week, from a jazz band to an oldies band. I even attended a birthday party, and made some new friends…

The homeschool expo was in town, and I got out with just a few purchases… my bag was less than 10 pounds… I think.  I visited a non-profit that deals with homelessness on levels that I’ve never seen.  I gave a few dollars to a jobless man sitting on a corner.  Both experiences convicted my heart, and made me reflect on the billions of blessings I have.

I prayed, studied, cleaned, cooked, shopped, banked, and did some laundry. I even tweeted, texted, emailed, facebooked, checked in, and linked in…The bills got paid, and the account is balanced, although my desk is still a mess, and my file pile should have it’s own zip code.  I watched some stupid tv, and some not so stupid…mostly stupid.

I did enforce some rules, and debated some negotiables… I lamented over my youth when physical exhaustion took over, and I lamented over my children’s youth… because they are just so dang grown.

I entered a weight loss contest, and finished a huge project that has taken months of my time… and now, I attempt to blog.

I’m sure I forgot something, but I’m too tired to reflect any longer.  My life is good, and I don’t take it for granted.  Even when the trials come, I know how blessed I am and my gratitude list is long… Really.

How was your week and what are you grateful for?


“tough”

Have you ever made your kids do something that they really didn’t want to do, even though it killed you to do it?

The first thought that pops in my mind, is that dreaded, “all night cry.”  The night where you have finally reached your limit of jumping up to find a cute baby that just wants to play or be held… You went in the room, told the baby that you loved them, then, left them there… to cry it out, while you sat on the other side of the door, crying it out with them.

According to the internet, the term “tough love” made it’s debut in 1977.  Any phrase with the word “tough” in it, just doesn’t sound good… tough crowd? tough luck? tough meat?…You get the point.  It takes a word that otherwise would be wonderful all by itself, and makes it…tough.  In the world of parenting, it can mean almost unbearable.

I had to make my kids do a couple of things this past week that they had no intentions of doing on their own.  All of my children are grown, or almost grown, so I can’t implement the handy dandy, “because I said so” closing argument.  They are old enough to reason, understand, and have the opportunity to submit peacefully with full disclosure.  Don’t get me wrong, we certainly allow for discussion, but disrespect is punishable by law.  Anyway, it is always a tough situation when these times come around.

Why do we do it?  I don’t mean to sound like a cliché’ but it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  It breaks my heart to see one of my kids forced into doing anything, especially when I know it is for their own growth and good.  I’ve come to the conclusion though, it’s just not the pain of seeing them upset, but it’s the “forcing” that is the heart breaker…it’s the desire to want them to trust us and seeing the lack thereof.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous, if every good thing we wanted our kids to do, they agreed, and went forth with a smile and a grateful heart?  I’d have had a lot more kids…

I don’t mean to write another post about discipline, but “tough love” falls under that category.  When you follow through in those times that seem the hardest, it is discipline, but discipline more for the parent then the child.

Scripture has much to say about it too; in one of many places we see a great section in Hebrews 12:5-11

5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I can only imagine how much it grieves our Father in Heaven to “tough love” us.  He loves us so much, he provided a way for all of our sins to be forgiven, but He did not take away the consequences of those messes.  We must always keep that in mind, not only for our children, but for us as parents.

I have hope in the possibility that my offspring will be grateful someday.  If not, I’ve at least given them plenty of subject matter for their therapy sessions.  Really.


Serious Saturday…The Warrior

What is a warrior?  The dictionary defines it as 1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle. 2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict.

So, what does that mean?  A warrior knows the battle field and has a plan. A warrior is pro-active and reactive.  He is engaged in the battle completely, mind, body and soul.  A warrior knows the enemy.  A warrior has a good support team, and through constant communication, is making sure he is equipped with the right weapons and information.

In the Bible, God says in Psalms 127:4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

According to this verse, parents are warriors.  Our children are arrows safe in our quivers. We take the twig, smooth out the knots, and sharpen the point, making it “ready  to launch” at the target of their future.  Wow! How do we do that?  How do we, as parents, prepare our kids for their futures, and, more importantly, for their own battles?

We must be primarily pro-active verses reactive. Are we involved in their education and interests?  Or do we just run them around, and try to have quick conversations between activities, homework, and friends?  Are your children’s teachers, coaches, and friends the biggest influences in their lives?  Are we just passively trusting in all of the activities, and people to shape them?  If this is your routine, keep reading…

If you are a parent, then you have been called to be a warrior.  The enemy is seeking to devour them. And you. (1 Peter 5:8) We have been given the battle plans, weapons, and armor in The Word, and we have the best support system in the universe through Christ. (Eph 6:10-18) We can be in constant contact with the creator of life itself, who has already defeated the enemy we face.  Do our kids know this?  Above all the lessons we can teach our children, these are the most important.  You will not always be able to be there for your kids, but Christ can.  You can’t completely restore them after they have been defeated in a battle, but Christ can.  You will not always have the perfect words to say to them… but The Word will always be perfect.

So, what advice can I offer?  After raising 3 kids with the 4th in middle school, I have had many failures and victories.  But keeping with my warrior theme, I will admonish you to teach them about Christ first and foremost.  Don’t think that an hour or 2 a week at Church will adequately counter the culture war zone we are living in.  I think about how many hours a day or week that they are exposed to things that aren’t on the target, and I am pro-active to the opposite.  Reading and discussing The Word and praying together daily is our smoothing and sharpening process.  Make the quiver a place of humility and grace.  Raising children is a battle.  It’s like one of those World Wars that last for years…There will be victories and miracles, as well as epic fails, and sorrow.  It’s an honor and a blessing to be called as a warrior…now go act like one.

 


Serious Saturday…Are you really where you are?

Are you really where you are?

Are you always  100% present where ever you go?  I’m not. I hadn’t even really noticed till recently.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I am referring to the ever present “cell phone” internet technology.

It has swept our nation at the speed of light and it is totally accepted.  Anyone who doesn’t jump on this rocket is considered old school and behind the times.  Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that modern technology offers a vast array of information, connections and progress that have never been seen before.  But how good is it?  Or, should I say, how responsible are we with it?

We have always been “those” parents when it comes to technology.  Our kids could not even have one till they were old enough to help pay for it.  They had to sign a “Responsible Cellular Phone Usage Agreement” and they didn’t get internet on the things till they turned 18.  We also made them turn their phones in every night by 11PM.  If they missed the turn in, they lost the phone for the entire next day.  I have made a 17 year old cry enforcing this rule… Really. We always stressed that cell phones were a privilege and not a “right”…

Today, everyone treats this technology as a “right” and a necessity. Myself included.  I have gone back home to get my phone if I’ve left it behind.  Spending a day without it is a withdraw process for crying out loud.  How did this happen?  How did we become a society that spends time with family and friends, while we chat, text and update the rest of the world.  When did we get to the point of thinking it’s OK to look at our email and facebook while driving on the interstate?  Seriously?  We complain about customer service, but how many times have you blown off a sales associate or check out clerk because you were on the phone or looking at it.

The other problem this age of information has presented, is the familiarity issue.  We share so much on facebook and twitter, that “friends” or “followers” think they really know us, which they just might, but do we know them?  We have all become little movie stars of our own social media and we don’t even realize it.  I remember when Twitter first made it’s debut and I laughed!  I thought, “who really would care?”… apparently, I do and so do millions of others.

As I step down from my soapbox, I will admit that our family are proud owners of every “i” product that is available.  We do not manage our screen time as well as we should at times, which as been the root of my rant. It’s funny how what annoys us the most about others, is usually what annoys us the most about ourselves.

If you take anything from this post, my prayer is it will cause you to pause, and leave your phone home now and again.  Turn it off when you get in the car and never bring it to the dinner table.  Maybe you will dust off a board game on a Friday night and LOL with your loved ones and realize there’s no substitute for the real face time that is slowly becoming a thing of the past.  Chit chat with the sales clerk and smile in the check out line.  What if, just what if, we looked at our Bible’s as often as our screens? What if we guarded our hearts, like we regarded our phones and what if we cared more about our relationship with our Creator then how many “friends” or “followers” we have.

Do you have balance?  Please share how you do it, I would LOVE to hear your story…