Carne Levare

Know Other People

Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Tolkien on the Eucharist

Posted by Remy on February 16, 2010

“The only cure for sagging of fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)”

Advertisements

Posted in Children | 2 Comments »

Wordsworth vs. Hopkins & ERH

Posted by Remy on August 20, 2009

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

-Bill Wordsworth

‘THE CHILD is father to the man.’
How can he be? The words are wild.
Suck any sense from that who can:
‘The child is father to the man.’
No; what the poet did write ran,
‘The man is father to the child.’
‘The child is father to the man!’
How can he be? The words are wild.

-G. Manley Hopkins

“No child is father to the man. Father and mother are the people who call us by our name; as their love bestows this name on us we feel that we own it securely and we feel in place.”

-Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy


Posted in Children | 1 Comment »

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption #2

Posted by Remy on June 9, 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

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

4. Sin is Always Punished

3. Training is Telling

2.  Sorry is Sufficient

“Sorry” is not the same as “forgive me”. “Sorry” may or may not be true, or may be true in the wrong sense. We don’t want our children to be sorry that they were caught, that’s a good thing. Even being sorry for doing wrong isn’t enough. When someone sins against another we aren’t required to be sorry; we are required to repent and ask forgiveness.

There are some very healthy ramifications to saying “forgive me”. For one it forces submission on the guilty party. For some reason the world is highly offended by the ability to forgive, as though to do so is arrogant. More likely the reason is that they don’t want endure the humility required in seeking forgiveness.

Another advantage is that it provokes a response of forgiveness from the transgressed. Saying “sorry” may only raise doubts about sincerity, but having the aggrieved party forgive discharges the need for revenge.

This is one of the ways Christians separate themselves from the world. We take responsibility for our actions. We are commanded to do justly. In those times we fail, we are to repent and ask to be forgiven, loving mercy and walking humbly.

 

Posted in Children | Comments Off on 10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption #2

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption #3

Posted by Remy on June 2, 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

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

4. Sin is Always Punished

3. Training is Telling

I remember in my pre-marital counseling I was told that saying “I love you” isn’t information, but food. Love isn’t a matter of conveying information, it is the matter of working and feeding. In the same way training children isn’t a matter of telling them the right things, faithful training isn’t information.

We know this of course. We know that we are required more than telling, we know that we have to exemplify our teaching to them, embody the obedience we’re teaching, but it’s hard. It’s hard to show obedience when we are the bosses at home.

How often do I jump up when my wife calls me? I put things off all the time, so how can I require immediate obedience from my children when I rarely comply immediately? You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve caught myself yelling back to my children not to yell for their mother but to go to her and ask a question. I’m so ashamed when I ask for an explanation of some illicit act and then following it up with a “don’t make excuses”.

Telling is the least effective method for training. Exemplifying, demonstrating, practicing, encouraging these all accompany your explanation. Only then can discipline be effective.


Posted in Children | 4 Comments »

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 4

Posted by Remy on May 25, 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 

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

4. Sin is Always Punished

The purpose of punishment is not to teach kids what they deserve (unless you want to execute them, but even then if punishment does not reflect the true God then to hell with it). The purpose of punishment is to teach them happiness and reveal the nature of God. To punish all sin (or all sins you know about) is not to accurately portray the living God.

I always think of Yahweh’s treatment of Israel in the Book of Samuel. Back in Deuteronomy Moses warns them that if they disobey they would be judged and sent into exile. They sin and God sends Himself into exile. The Philistines take the ark of the Covenant, Yahweh sends them plagues and exoduses Himself. Even after this Israel continues to live idolatrously, but instead of wiping them off the map God places them in Babylon where they gain prestige and power. Even in the judgment God is merciful and blesses Israel.

This and many other delays of God’s judgment reveal what is repeated again and again in His word that He is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. Even when judgment comes it is blunted and sometimes outright blessing.

What this means for parents is that in every judgment we should seek to reveal God’s mercy, sometimes this means a complete commuting of the sentence for the sake of Jesus, other times it might mean a reminder that even in judgment the Lord is good. Conveying anger is easy, but mercy is a difficult and -on the face of things- a reckless response to sin, but one that must be used to reveal the true God.

Posted in Children | Comments Off on 10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 4

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 5

Posted by Remy on May 18, 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 

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

5. Sex is a Secret

What is the gameplan? How do you plan on explaining the marital act to your children? Yeah, I don’t have one either, but we spend the summer on a farm so we’re hoping to be bailed out by randy animals.

But we need to be more proactive in teaching our children, particularly on a subject as important as sex. In sitting back to wait until the world brings up the subject we are essentially ensuring that it will not be a positive, responsible, well-thought out introduction, but a crass joke from some stranger boy.

Sex is not a secret. To treat it in hushed and embarrassed tones only adds to the confusion and shame. I think we put it off because we don’t want to be embarrassed by a public use of some of the terms involved, which is silly.

The problem with putting off the topic is that it means we put off the morality of sex as well. We wait until the biology is taught and then think to drape our morals over the top. It’s no wonder that teaching sex ed first makes it the primary good and the insistence of purity an unnatural burden.

Rather we should introduce sex within the context of marriage, not school or more likely the impromptu after-school special taught by Joe fifth-grader. If marital sex is the norm, that thing mom and dad do together, it puts it in the world of righteousness, of maturity, and perhaps most importantly, it puts it into the quotidian. Teaching sex in the context of marriage makes it difficult to treat as a biological necessity or a backseat teenager’s secret.

We should be practicing revulsion toward sexual impurity and perversion from an early age, but this requires a careful unfolding of the sexual act to our children. Of course sexual purity isn’t as important as the ABCs or the multiplication tables or learning the books of the Bible, but it’s up there, right?

Posted in Children | Comments Off on 10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 5

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 6

Posted by Remy on May 12, 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 

7. Obedience is Most Important

6. Bad Examples are Bad

The Bible is full of bad examples. Even the good examples aren’t always good and what could be worse than a good person when he’s bad? If we truly think that bad examples are bad, then the first book we need to toss is the Bible.

But this is a bad assumption, bad examples are actually good, particularly if we think of them as teaching opportunities. The only time a teaching opportunity is bad is when we are lazy and don’t want to do the work required in training our children.

One of the principle tools of education, both in school and out, is to grapple with the shortcomings within and around us. The benefit of sheltering our children is a temporary tactic. To forever shelter ensures immaturity. It is the duty of the parents to equip their children to engage the world. Sheltering only works if you plan at some point to unshelter them. Understanding this allows us to have a high view of bad examples, for if we were left to ourselves in determining what to teach how much would we leave out? I never would’ve thought to teach my children something had I know come into contact with a bad example. It is difficult to think of a time when Jesus doesn’t use a bad example in His teaching. Sin is not the problem, it is a failure to address sin that is a problem. 

This is one of the reasons why television is such a blessing to parents. What better way to present children with bad examples than in the safety of your own home? I confess that I dispise “Dora the Explora” and prefer my boys to watch other shows, but I am not afraid of Dora, and in some ways I’m glad for the lesson I was able to teach my children from it. The thing I hate about Dora (and most children shows) is the self-congratulations that  are constantly going on. But the first time Archer did the “I did it” dance I was able to remind him that we don’t praise ourselves, we praise others.

Playing soccer in the city league brings you into contact with all sorts of kids and parents that are “bad influences”, but they can only influence a void or a poorly instructed area. As parents we are watchers, we watch what are kids come in contact with and while sometimes that means making sure there is no contact, most of the time it means giving guidance, dismantling bad attitudes and responses, highlighting foolishness. Avoiding bad examples is just ensuring that you don’t need to interact with your children, that you don’t think they need to be challenged. We need to know their frame and this assumes that the frame is changing.

Being blown about by every wind of doctrine is not solved by staying out of the wind.

Posted in Children | 1 Comment »

Those Unpredictable Speakers

Posted by Remy on May 10, 2009

Jaiken on the toilet: “A-men, a-men, Ah-a-a-meeeen.”

Posted in Children | 1 Comment »

10 Bad Assumptions in Raising Children : Assumption Number 7

Posted by Remy on May 6, 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 

7. Obedience is Most Important

Obedience is important, don’t get me wrong, but seeing as we can teach dogs obedience, to treat obedience as the most important thing is a bad assumption. Rather we should aim at raising happy children, and this does not mean “placating them with goodies”.

There is perhaps much to criticize in the Shorter Catechism, but the first question I find to be among the finest written by mortals: What is man’s chief end? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. We have to note that it is a singular end and that achieving that end entails glorifying and enjoying. You cannot glorify without enjoying.

To put it another way obedience is not enough. Islam is the religion for obedience, the word itself means “submission”, in it there is no need to love Allah or enjoy him forever. But to instill in our children subservience to commands only ensures immaturity.

If we could reduce the Christian message to one world “Rejoice” would be more than a decent summary. “Euaggelion” the Greek word we translate “Gospel” is the word “good news” and therefore to bring “the good news of the Gospel” is not so much repetitive as it is justified emphasis.

As children the most terrifying thing is absence, and absence can be felt with a mother ten feet away mopping and a father five feet away and reading. They’re quick to discover that volume attracts attention and all children want to be taken seriously even if it means harshly. But investing in their attitudes, giving them the responsibility of being happy, nurturing happy children will prune much of their dissatisfaction before it blossoms.

As Christians we have a responsibility to be happy, it is the easy burden, the light yoke. I am continually amazed how easy it is to for me to make my children laugh. I think it is a secret power God gives parents. Sometimes when confronted by a crankyfaced boy I smile, toothy and moonfaced, and as the image of God we have been designed to be happy, inevitably in the face of happiness, my children resist, but break out also in smiles.

Posted in Children | 11 Comments »

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.

 

Posted in Children | 9 Comments »