Generation Cedar

I’m always analyzing the comments of people regarding children, trying to get to the root of why our society views children as a curse. Last week, our whole family went to Wal-Mart. My husband took three children in a buggy, and I took the other three. Interestingly enough, we both experienced polar opposite responses, simultaneously, while shopping at different locations in the store. The first thing that struck me was that both of us, with only THREE children in tow, got the attention of a stranger to the point of a comment. WOW. My “stranger” was sweet, and when I told her I had three more somewhere else in the store, she said “what a blessing”…a comment I don’t hear often at Wal-Mart.
My husband, this is a true story, passed a woman who looked at my children, looked at him, and then shook her head and said “I feel sorry for you”. Can you believe that? Right in front of the kids, no less. What does that communicate? And maybe you see why the attitudes of other people bother me so much…it’s not that she didn’t have a full quiver that bothers me, it’s that her comments affect my children. Later, my eight-year-old son said, “it’s a blessing that you think we’re a blessing, ’cause not everybody thinks so. That lady at the store said she felt sorry for Daddy…and we weren’t even doing anything!”
Again, my heart aches for the misguided perception of God’s greatest blessings. We’ve talked about why our thinking has gotten so far off track. Selfish ambition, the pursuit of comfort and pleasure, the materialistic encroachment, etc.
One more thing to add to the list: lack of discipline. If parents are indeed wrapped up in their own lives, careers and pursuits, obviously their time for their children is limited. But it’s not just time those parents lose…it is the magnificently important virtue of child-training they lose. Children don’t come from the hand of God with all their ducks in a row. They are sinful, just as we are. They need tons of training, guidance, discipline and self-control, and it is our responsibility to give it to them. If we don’t take the time to do it, we WILL reap the consequences.
That explains why so many women say to me, “I can barely handle the two I’ve got…I don’t see how you have your hair.” I never have the nerve to say, “Well, ma’am, I don’t have a house full of your children.” Don’t get me wrong…I’m not being arrogant, and please don’t assume I have children who are well-behaved all the time. My children squabble, whine, protest, disobey, and a whole host of other sins. But, those behaviors are considered exceptions. We don’t “allow” them. We discipline those behaviors, and keep them at a minimum, most of the time. So that when we are all in line at the check-out counter, and I say “do not touch that candy bar”, my children know that if they touch it, they will be disciplined. That simple. We have not “arrived”, nor do I think you ever do in your parenting duties. But training our children to be kind, obedient, and self-controlled is a priority for us, and it keeps a lot of “hair-pulling” at bay.
Child training is not rocket science, it just takes time and consistent effort. But the joy and rewards for it are immeasurable! It all goes back to the same thing–doing it God’s way. The Bible is full of warning for the parents who “leave a child to himself”. But to the parents who administer swift discipline, they are promised children who bring delight and honor to them.
God’s way is the only way!
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3 Responses

  1. It’s amazing how people differ in their opinions when they see a “big” family. We were at an IHOP last week and you should have seen the look on the face of the man who was sitting near us with his wife. I could almost hear “oh no, there goes our nice quiet dinner” when our family of 8 plus my mom came walking in. Well our little toddler decided to flirt mercilously with the man and they became fast friends. By the end of the dinner the man was sharing his french fries with the toddler and even commented before leaving how wonderful our family was and how well behaved and disciplined they are. Even though our 5 year old needed a little talkin’ to! Maybe he saw how we handled it and was impressed? Who knows?! It was very interesting to see his opinion of us change. At first I was dreading the meal (his attitude) but it turned out to be a nice evening.

  2. I SO appreciate your blog. I just stumbled upon it today.

    We have five children, all under six years old. We get all the comments and strange looks, too!

    Mind if I add your blog link to my blog? I wish more people saw children for the blessing they are!

    Daja
    http://www.gombojav.blogspot.com

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