Carne Levare

Know Other People

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 8

Posted by Remy on April 29, 2009

There are several assumptions parents make that are detrimental to their children. As a parent who teaches I am afforded the opportunity to spend time thinking of ways to train children. This is not to say that I’ve figured anything out, I have three rascally boys all under the age of five, so what do I know, right? But because it is my job to train children, both as parent and teacher, I know that good thoughts only follow thoughts and I have thoughts. What follows is a few thoughts that strike me as important, but are also not emphasized enough. These are not meant to detract from any other fine advice, but to compliment it.

 10. Churchtime is Time to Sit Still and Quiet

9. Words are Bad

8. God is Always Watching 

 

Why don’t we ever say “God is watching” to our children after they’ve just hugged their mother to thank her for dinner? The answer is because we think the best way to keep children from wrong is to teach them that they are in a constant state of disapproval with God.

Obviously we don’t consciously think this, but this makes God out to be a petty grandma nagging us over our shortcomings. We don’t act this way in other areas, when sons swing and miss in the batter’s box we don’t hoot “Don’t strike out! Daddy’s watching you.” We root for them, “hang in there, elbow up, eye on the ball, hurraaaay!”

We should be encouraging our kids, even when they fail, and even when they sin. Not that we cannot ever convey God’s displeasure with sin, but we need to remember God isn’t offended by sin, it isn’t some slight to His taste when we sin, He is displeased because we have not been designed for sin. He wants us to live full, joyous lives, not lives truncated and diminished by sin.

We think holiness is equal to a constant disapproval of things. As long as we can inculcate in our children a healthy jaundiced eye toward the world we’re happy. But there’s no such thing as a healthy jaundiced eye. Holiness is not equal to a constant disapproval, or brow-beaten obedience, or guilt-tripped theological haranguing.

We want active holiness and love for obedience and righteousness. There’s a place for scolding, but the great majority of our nurturing should be a positive praise after obedience, a loving encouragement at their shortcomings, a defensive instructing before their pet-temptations.

My wife and I started to remind our boys before giving the command that their response should be happy. We found that it was hard for us to remember to safe-guard their disobedient urges with prior warnings. But if it was hard for two responsible Christians to remember doing this imagine how hard it is to remember to obey happily for two immature and unpracticed young Christian boys?

We shouldn’t root for failure so that we can discipline it, thinking discipline is the best method for raising children. Discipline is important, irreplaceable, and Godhonoring when done correctly, but loving admonishing, making up for the weakness of your children, commuting punishment for the sake of Jesus, practicing righteousness before require its performance, these are all ways we can avoid a Dark Cloud God in constant rumble over us.

 

9 Responses to “10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 8”

  1. I’m having trouble translating the title of the blog. Why is “caro” Ablative? It seems like “carne levare” should mean “to raise up from the flesh” not “to raise up flesh” which would be “carnem levare”.

  2. Remy said

    I wanted it to sound as close to “carnival” as I could get it. If you think of it as a Spanish/Latin hybrid it works.

  3. My pastor once said that when he’s going faithfully about his daily work or perhaps tackling some particularly challenging task, he says to the Lord, like a little kid to his dad, “Did you see that?” I started doing that sometimes, and it’s jolly good fun. It’s easy to slip into a “God is watching to catch you sinning” attitude with kids, because we think He’s that way with us. We have it in our heads that our righteousness is like filthy rags, so we rather suspect that God’s pretty well disgusted with us all of the time. We forget, of course, that we now have Christ’s righteousness and the Spirit’s fruits, with which the Father is guaranteed to be pleased…if only we’d let Him be.

  4. I think you’re just a closet gnostic.

    🙂

  5. Remy said

    That’s great, Valerie. I have recently started advocating my sons to the Father in the bedtime prayers. “Have you considered my son, Archer, that he is a faithful worker, and my son, Jaiken, that he is a cheerful and imaginative giver”. The difficulty is that I start getting suggestions. It’s like when you put up one particularly pleasing picture on the fridge then you start receiving all sorts of half-brained tossed off scribblings they want mounted also.

    Matt:
    I do have a visor with “Gnostic” across the front. I know that it is probably more true than I want it to be. So you can’t accuse me of being closeted.

  6. I suppose closeted doesn’t make sense. You did name your blog “to elevate beyond the flesh.”

  7. Remy said

    Flesh in the Biblical sense. For as we know spiritual is more physical than material.

  8. On a different topic: Do you believe in the physical resurrection, or the material resurrection?

  9. Remy, you might be interested in this:

    In the Netherlands, when you prepare your doctoral dissertation, you include a list of theses (“stellingen”) that you are prepared to defend during your examination by all the professors and others. The first several theses are related to your dissertation, usually, and there’s often a more humorous one at the end.

    I was interested to note that Nelson Kloosterman (Mid-America Reformed Seminary prof) has this as Thesis # 17:

    Because the children’s song “You Cannot Hide from God” conveys a negative impression of God’s omnipresence and omniscience, it should be neither taught to children nor sung in their presence.

    That seems to fit with what you’re saying in this blog post.

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