Generation Cedar

In light of the post “The Only Thing That Matters“, raising children becomes such an important thing to understand.

Once we understand how valuable they are, and how the very future of a society rests upon them, we know how crucial it is to bring them up properly.

It’s no secret that our culture is witnessing an epidemic of out-of-control, self-centered irresponsible children who are quickly becoming the same kind of adult.

Somewhere along the way, parents bought into the crazy notion that children can just be left alone to grow up, and then they’ll miraculously turn out to be healthy, contributing citizens.

Not so. Again, God’s ways are always right. He said to invest enormous amounts of time and energy into raising them to obey His commands. If we play now, we pay later.

Dr. McArthur, in his series on children said, “it doesn’t take a PhD to raise normal, healthy children; it takes a PhD to deal with the mess left when parents fail to do it.”

Number one rule: children are to be taught to obey and honor their parents. That’s the only command given to children in the Bible. And if you think about it, this solves the biggest problem we see among people: the lack of self-control.

I’m am repeatedly astonished when I hear children using a smart tone of voice or just downright disrespectful language with their parents. Above all else parents simple cannot allow disrespect!

The very beginning of training a child MUST encompass the enforcement of respect to parents and authority.

Even now, my seven-month old baby has started to kick her legs angrily when I put her down for a nap. I have already begun showing her that is not acceptable. I require her to stop, and repeatedly hold her legs and speak firmly to her until she does.

As cute and cuddly as they are, our children are born sinners! They are selfish, self-centered, egotistical little people who require tremendous amounts of discipline. We trust God for the heart work, but we are ordered to teach them His commands.

How happy are children when there is a loving yet firm hand that says, “I love you enough to hold you within my authority”! It’s such a picture of what God is to us, and it paves the road for how our children will relate to Him in their spiritual lives.

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19 Responses

  1. Hmm. We are talking about this very thing on my blog right now.

    I believe that the number one rule in a Christian home is that children are taught who God is. And God didn’t parent me, as a new flailing Christian, by holding my legs down when I was put down for a nap. Maybe my experience was different than yours? But I know that I was a *real* mess when I was a new Christian at 19. And God graciously and patiently led me into His light, raaaarely by punishing, and usually by His kindness.

    I want to parent the exact same way. God does not require instant obedience, for example, yet so many parenting books say that Christian parents should. But God doesn’t. Jesus Himself had a moment where He struggled to obey (sweating blood, no less), yet we know that Jesus never sinned.

    The Psalms are full, for example, of David whining and grumping at God (yet he always ends in praise—that’s why they’re such awesome songs! Real feelings, real trials, real struggling is all okay with God. Those whines ended up becoming God-breathed Scripture, no less!).

    The father in the prodigal son story…? That’s God! He gave his son ample room to really do the wrong thing—not step on him and enforce instant obedience. Teaching children to respect authority, yes. But I want to do it the way Jesus did it. He just was who He was. I love thinking of myself as an under-shepherd of Jesus. It puts me in the right frame of mind. A shepherd doesn’t say her sheep are all terrible fuzzy wooly lambs. No, she knows they are lambs—she understands their frame, just as God “knows our frame, that we are but dust.” I expect my children to act like lambs, and I shepherd them to stay in the safe areas, in the green meadows. My rod and staff aren’t for hitting them unless there’s an emergency—-the rod is for hitting the wolves that try to come and steal my sheep.

    This heavy-authority-focus promoted by some isn’t something that meshes well with how God parents us. That makes me question it. I’m a former Pearl fan, btw, who has repented. I do believe that part of my job as a parent is to lead my children into obedience. I just see the practicals of that in a much different way.

    Warmly,
    Molly

  2. Btw, sorry for the long ramble. I always mean to pipe in a few sentances worth of thought, but then I get wordy…story of my life! HA! 🙂

  3. Molly,

    I’m going to have to be frank with you now…

    I’m really exasperated at your taking what I say, or what others say, and twisting it to make us look like ogres.

    If anyone believes in nurturing children as little lambs, treating them gently and tenderly, it is me.

    My post was not about an overbearing tyrannical parenting approach.

    It is about firm and loving discipline–what the Bible teaches.

    If you continue to warp the things I say, I will block you from commenting to keep your deception from tainting others.

    Speaking of lambs, wolves come in sheep’s clothing.

  4. I taught my daughter to read God’s word and obey him at a young age. She is nine years old now.
    Obeying God and doing what is right brings her so much joy. She knows that God wants her to obey her parents, and that makes our job easier. She is such a joy to raise!
    On the other hand, I also have a 5 year old daughter who has Down syndrome. Her receptive language skills(meaning what she understands) are lacking. She has behavior problems and sometimes she really leaves me drained. I go to Gods word to teach me patience and give me strength to raise her. Btw, she is also a joy to raise, but in a different way. lol!
    I enjoy your blog so much. It blesses me everytime I read it.

  5. I don’t mean to twist what you say at all. I’m legitimately and honestly commenting on what you said. Maybe there is a disconnect between what I heard and what you said? I’m willing to say that is a real possiblity. But you talked about holding a 7 month olds legs down for kicking when she’s laid down to nap. That’s pretty heavy-handed authoritarian parenting, the way I see things.

    A 7 month old is learning to express herself (expressing distress/dislike at being laid down is universally normal, except in those countries/cultures where they carry/hold their babies all the time, etc), and you are essentially telling her that all expression that disagrees with your decisions is sin. She can’t even kick her baby legs to say she doesn’t like something.

    I am not sure that God’s word would support you calling that a sin. I think it’s just normal human development, the way God wired us to develop. And I’m afraid you are encouraging parents to see power struggles where there don’t have to be any.

    Point being, I just strongly disagree. I thought this blog welcomed that—it’s called the great debate. Though, to be honest, I’m not really a lover of debate. I do love a good discussion, though. Debate never gets anyone anywhere…which is sort of what I feel like when I comment here, and I have a feeling you feel much the same way sometimes. 🙂 When two sides debate, neither one is listening to the other…it gets old, hence my preference to discuss, meaning we’re both actively listening, versus debate.

    I’m not here trying to twist your words. I think it’s fair, though, to issue a challenge or two, particularly when you frame your opinion as God’s Way. *shrugs*

    How does God parent you? Does He switch you whenever you fail to acknowledge His authority, instantly and cheerfully? He doesn’t do that to me. He is patient and gentle, only very rarely using the rod of His authority. He doesn’t hold my flailing legs down and never has. Does He do that to you? I truly think these are valid questions.

    Please know that I’m not asking in a spirit of anger, debate, or catty stabs. I’m asking one sister to another, as if we were across a coffee shop table from eachother. How does God parent us? How did Jesus shepherd His disciples? I think whatever the answer to those questions are shows us how we should parent our children.

  6. Molly,

    Job 5:17,18 How enviable is the man whom God corrects. Oh, do not despise the chastening of the Lord when you sin. For though he wounds, he binds and heals once again. (Since you mentioned Jesus as a Good Shepherd, I would like to share that I have heard that this is what Shepherds do when their sheep stray).

    I am not completely familiar with your style of parenting but if I understand what you are saying (and forgive me if I have misunderstood). My question for a parent who isn’t consistently requiring their little children to obey immediately is that I wonder if the parent isn’t training her children to disobey? In the mind of the child “I have 3 seconds, so I will keep running (maybe into the street in front of a speeding car?)”. That sting is more easily remembered than “honey, we don’t do that”.

    You can spank lovingly. I have noticed with my own children that after a loving spanking, their hearts are made tender. They sit there and cry and we hug each other (and I sometimes cry too).
    I have explained to my children that they are my little jewels.. my treasures. When a diamond is being cut into perfection, or gold is being refined, the ugliness has to be purged. And then it is comes forth beautiful!
    But the refining process is not pleasant.

    And why would someone who had trained their children CONSISTENTLY as little toddlers need to beat their teens into submission? And is this parenting movement really going to start using the rod on their teens (since it is supposedly Biblical?) They probably will have to since they didn’t require full submission when they were toddlers.
    I have a feeling their will be another “new” idea by that time.
    (no disrespect intended)

    The song below is an example of that refining I am talking about:

    Artist: STEVE GREEN Song: THE REFINER’S FIRE Album: THE MISSION

    There burns a fire with sacred heat
    White hot with holy flame
    And all who dare pass through its blaze
    Will not emerge the same
    Some as bronze, and some as silver
    Some as gold, then with great skill
    All are hammered by their sufferings
    On the anvil of His will

    Chorus:
    The Refiner’s fire
    Has now become my souls desire
    Purged and cleansed and purified
    That the Lord be glorified
    He is consuming my soul
    Refining me, making me whole
    No matter what I may lose
    I choose the Refiner’s fire

    I’m learning now to trust His touch
    To crave the fire’s embrace
    For though my past with sin was etched
    His mercies did erase
    Each time His purging cleanses deeper
    I’m not sure that I’ll survive
    Yet the strength in growing weaker
    Keeps my hungry soul alive

  7. Kelly, Now that I see my comment, I apologize for my long reply to Molly. I hope I didn’t overstep myself.. this is YOUR blog, not mine. But I do so enjoy reading it and You have no idea how much of a blessing and encouragement your blog has been to me. Thank you so much for being a faithful “Word Warrior”. My husband thanks you too.

  8. Molly,

    1. The Great Debate is only welcoming to those who don’t deceitfully twist and add words to their opponent’s argument.

    2. David whined and cried out to God because he was being disciplined (you really must read your Bible a little more closely.) “Lord, how long will you break my bones? When will you remove your anger from me?”

    3. You will not respond to my post by saying things like, “she doesn’t say her sheep are all terrible, fuzzy lambs”…insinuting that is what I said. You will not add to my words.

    (BTW, I never even mentioned switching, and you bring it up several times in your responses.”

    I don’t know which religion you are following, but as a Christian, I am compelled to follow Jesus by obeying His word.

    I am prone to say that the reason adults have such a hard time obeying Scripture and submitting to the lordship of Christ, is for the very reason we are discussing. Failure to learn submitting to human authority results in difficulty submitting to God.

    I do my children a horrible disservice not enforcing, albeit lovingly and gently, obedience to me, because it is to that degree that they will willingly obey Christ.

    A Christian obeys God’s word; he doesn’t take out the “mushy-gushy” parts and ignore the rest.

    My Bible says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”…it also says a lot of other things about child-training, but I’ll spare for time. It is uncanny the way you dance around so much Scripture.

    God is gracious and so are we to be. No one is suggesting otherwise. The Lord still chastens those whom he loves. And commands us to do the same.

    Patiently, lovingly, firmly–THE WAY GOD HAS DEALT WITH US…we lead, guide, train and require obedience from our children. They are the happiest and securest in such a life.

    Holding a baby’s legs is not borerline abuse, as you make it out to sound. Remarkably, within just a few minutes of my speaking gently to her while holding her legs, she stopped, smiled, and cooed herself to sleep.

    All I did by that little scenario was essentially tell her, “you must begin learning to control your anger when you don’t get what you want. Mommy loves you too much to let you grow up as self-centered as you are now.”

    To do otherwise is a form of abuse.

  9. I don’t have a comment on the issue of the post. But I do want to say that I am following the discussions/debates very closely, and I love how you ladies’ comments always have me reaching for my Bible. THAT is the sign of an uplifting conversation!

    So, it is with my own selfish desire to continue learning this way, and a great deal of humility, that I would just like to say: I would very much like to continue reading this very Biblical discussion, but to be honest, what’s NOT uplifting is the harshness showing through some comments.

    It’s not uplifting to suggest someone is hurting their baby. EQUALLY, it’s not at all uplifting to suggest someone isn’t a Christian. I see love of Christ at the heart of everybody’s strong opinions. I would just like to say that I’d love to keep reading and learning, and I admire ALL of you very much. But insinuating abuse, OR calling someone’s heartfelt desire to serve the Lord “fuzzy-wuzzy” or whatever, isn’t helping any of us get closer to Christ.

    It just saddens me a bit that when there is so much hate towards Jesus and so many terrible and abusive parents out there, that we Christian women often tend to focus so much on where we disagree!

    Ladies, we are going to see each other in heaven, and we will laugh and embrace and wonder how such little things seemed so huge. Not that they’re not important – as I said before I think these conversations lift us up so much, they have been SO helpful to me in my walk with the Lord. But let’s not forget that we are sisters in Christ, and let’s treat each other as such.

    With much love and prayers,
    Cate

  10. Cate l,

    You make a valid point, and I do realize I was more harsh in this response (probably than ever before on this blog), due to the constant barrage of false accusations I keep receiving from this commenter.

    You’re right, that does not justify any harshness on my part, so I apologize for hurtful remarks.

    Let me say though, that I believe with all my heart there is a following of people who are deceived, and “profess godliness but deny the power thereof”…

    I don’t think it is wrong to question one’s religion (I’m assuming that’s the remark your addressing), when that person repeatedly denies many aspects of Scripture.

    We must be vigilant to measure any “instruction” against God’s Word.

    Molly has outright denied much of what Scripture has to say on the issue of child-training (and other areas on other posts). It was a real question, not intended as an insult.

  11. Wow. I’m not sure what I can say. It’s obvious these are emotional areas. It’s been awhile since I’ve been accused quite this way. I supposed that’s my own fault, since I came here of my own volition, knowing we wouldn’t see eye to eye. 🙂

    I admit that I was hoping for something more akin to discussion. I apologize for hurting you. I strongly disagree with much of what you are teaching, but I certainly don’t want to cause you pain. That was never my intent. I’m really sorry you feel hurt.

    As for your comments about me, I think I’ll just leave them as they stand. I’m not sure what I could say in my defense at all, so I’ll spare you and I both the time. Ha!

    I believe that we see the Bible differently—-that I believe it no less than you do, rather, I just interpret it differently. Much much differently in some places, as we both know. 🙂

    I realize that you think I am an enemy, at least by your comments toward me. I want to assure you that I’m not hear to decieve or to twist your words or anything of the sort. I’m not your enemy. We’re both on the same team. We just disagree.

    Paul admired the Bereans for searching the Scriptures “to see if these things be so.” Your words are not above Paul’s preaching, are they? I know that mine sure aren’t.

    That means it’s got to be okay—even noble—for readers to search the Scriptures and challenge what they feel is not quite right. When we speak authoritatively from our blogs, we have GOT to do so from the same place of humility Paul was at: welcome the careful searchers, the questioners, not chase them off.

    I know that I don’t particularly ENJOY it when people loudly disagree with me on my blog, and boy do they ever at times, but at the same time, I welcome it. I know that I need it. It’s good for me.

    Paul welcomed it, not lashed out at it. He said that the folks who TESTED his words instead of just blindly accepted them were the best ones! Wow!

    No one is infallible. No one’s view is infallible. The only one infallible is our great and awesome God. People, you and I, are going to be wrong. It’s good to have people on all sides of the spectrum piping in their thoughts. It grows us. Helps us. Balances us. Because no one side is ever going to be 100% right. If we can listen to eachother, that is. A big if.

    Especially if people are taught that ONLY their side is right, that ONLY their side interprets the Bible correctly, that ONLY their side is following God rightly. That makes it impossible to listen at all. We look at them as the enemy. I really struggle with this regularly. It’s hard to listen.

    With all of that ramblingly said, I will make your day (haha) and exit your blog. Thanks for your time.
    Warmly,
    Molly

  12. Ack, I browsed Molly’s blog and she’s a part of the “gentle” discipline/child-led training crowd. I was entrenched in that trap for years and it’s taken me so long to get out of it. Our lives were turned completely upside down, now we have a 6 year old who thinks she rules the universe because we didn’t have the proper balance, it was all “gentleness” and “grace”. It is a daily struggle just to tame her will and get her focused on anyone but herself. There is a reason why there are so many scriptures about requiring children to obey their parents, and using the rod to drive the foolishness from them. People who ignore those parts of scripture will have to live with the consequences- the proof is in the pudding. You can’t pick and choose or translate scripture into what you’d like scripture to say. It is what it is, and God has a reason for it.

    My mom was/is a total feminist and subscribed to the “gentle discipline” theories while raising me. She became so sick of my out of control behavior (because SHE refused to teach and discipline me correctly!) that she literally grew to hate me. Still does. I’m still not over it. I would much prefer she was on me with a switch for every bad behavior, than let me run wild and end up resenting me. Proverbs 17:25 says foolish children WILL bring bitterness to their mother. I’ve seen it and lived it, and that is far more damaging than being spanked. Trust me.

    One thing I heard from so many in the “gentle” discipline crowd is how caring and sweet their children are because they treat them with care and sweetness. But I think they’re blinded. Most of my friends practice this way of parenting, and I cannot stand to be around any of their children. They are rude, bratty, and selfish. Their parents just don’t see it. They don’t want to see it.

  13. 🙁 I’m kind of saddened by this whole exchange. There just seems to be cruelty and name-calling that just isn’t honouring God.

    My husband always says that if a blog leaves you sad or angry, no matter how interesting or God-centred it appears to be, it’s not good for you and you shouldn’t read it. I think I’m going to take the advice of the wonderful man God chose for me and bow out of this. I’m not trying to storm off and take my toys with me, and I’m sure I’ll be back. I just can’t take the tone of some comments.

    Bless you all, I am praying for you and would truly appreciate prayers for me,

    In Him, Cate

  14. As I read the previous posts there were two instances in the Bible that immediately came to mind—
    Ananias & Saphira and Lot’s wife.
    I think that teaching first time obedience is a crucial
    and potentially life saving discipline that needs to be
    taught very EARLY with our little blessings.
    Have a blessed day, Kelly! Keep up the good work!!
    Shelly

  15. I just want to say to Cate and anyone else, Jesus was “harsh” many times when it came to the truth. I personally can’t really see flaws in Kelly’s response. It is not surprising to me that *especially* in this day and age when any form of discipline is considered abuse by the culture at large we have people who put a Christian spin on it and call it Christian.

    I do not want to see a Christianity where everyone’s interpretation of the truth is honored (the politically correct “respecting everyone’s opinion”) because the bible lets us know the truth is not up for interpretation. There are methods of delivering it that can be more loving than others but I still think Kelly is not out of line so I don’t know what there is to be sad about.

  16. Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

    Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

    The Bible says that our children are born with sinful natures. The Bible also clearly teaches in the OT and NT that we are to discipline and train up our children. (Specifically to be obedient.) It seems far more loving to correct a disobedient small child a few times than to spend years of harshly disciplining an older child. It wasn’t until my oldest son was 5-6yrs. old that we began to train for obedience. While, now he reluctantly obeys (usually with an attitude), it has been a long hard 4 years. (I’m probably doing something wrong.) My 3 yr. old son on the other hand needed correction a handful of times and willingly, cheerfully, obeys on command. It’s been like night and day!

  17. Quinn, I agree that starting early makes a HUGE difference. We waited 3 years before even beginning to teach my dd to actually follow rules and hold her accountable, and it’s been an uphill battle ever since. Their sin natures get so quickly entrenched the longer they’re able to get what they want, we were all the same. I wish my parents had been harder on me (while also loving of course) but I could have definitely used more disicpline. Starting to train around 6-12 months I’ve found makes a HUGE difference. It barely takes more than a “no” or a firm hold, like Kelly said, before they get it and very cheerfully comply. It’s really sweet actually. Nothing like the screaming, kicking, foaming at the mouth tantrums I see from older children.

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