Generation Cedar

I have these little “parent awakenings” every now and then. My latest is about deliberate parenting.

Deliberate training takes deliberate thought, deliberate action, and the vision to understand the importance of being deliberate. It’s so simple we almost miss it. But it’s so important, we can’t afford to!

As my husband and I randomly talked the other night about the socialist society we live in, and “how we got here”, it dawned on me…. we, too, can be guilty of skewing our children’s understanding of life, of God, and how it all fits together.

This generation loves socialism because they grew up having parents who “loved them enough” to give them what they wanted. Free. Free cars, free clothes, free sports, free camp, free education…little responsibility attached.

Why would those children grow up and expect anything less?

Once upon a time, biblical principles taught themselves.

“If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat.”

And children knew if they didn’t help their parents plant the corn, hoe the rows, milk the cow, etc., THEY WOULDN’T EAT.

They watched their father pray for rain and saw the labor of their hands mingle with the miracle of life from the ground as their very food sprang up from it.

Those days are mostly gone.

And I was thinking about how we all–and especially our children, take the simple act of sitting down to a meal for granted.

It’s “free food” to them. It just appears. We always have it.

How can I teach my children that “if a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat”?

By pointing out the necessity of the entire family working together to keep our household running. By showing them that their diligence to take care of household chores, helping with the other children, looking for ways to make everyone’s load lighter–these are practical things that hold keys to life implications.

By talking about it, and pointing what they already do to a Scriptural concept. (A friend of mine has a pick-up before lunch, at which point she quotes the verse 😉

Make the connection. Use your days to teach the wisdom of God. This principle can be applied to any Scriptural truth, but we must be deliberate about applying it.

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23 Responses

  1. Excellent post. Children often love and enjoy to help, feeling their importance in the household. We intend to make our future children a part of our family life, not little princes and princesses that are catered to.

  2. Yes, chores BEFORE meal time is how that concept can come to life even today!

    I have also thought and written about “defensive parenting” and this post reminds me of that. The opposite, of course would be offensive parenting(as in football, not offending others!)or, as you have said…deliberate parenting. I think there is SO much we must think through how we can teach our children b/c you are right: many natural teaching opportunities have been lost these days.
    Good thoughts.

  3. Yep, I’ve used that verse during pick-up time before lunch, too! The Bible is so rich in parenting helps, if we avail ourselves of it!

  4. Thanks for the reminder–not only as I train my little girl but as I think upon the blessings of God to me! Thank you!

  5. I’ve said plenty of times that we ARE a socialist country…we have been sliding in that direction for years. But socialism has different forms, different levels; we are creeping into a more controlled, more restrictive society every day. I actually don’t think the government should control the Post office…however, unless I enlist the Pony Express, I am forced to use it.

    I don’t think education should be government-controlled either.

    There a many forms of socialism we use…some we can’t avoid.

    And the slippery slope continues…do some research and see what happens once socialism is full-blown.

  6. Well said Kelly. So many children just think they are entitled to everything.
    I know my daughter is only 3 but I’ve already started having converstations with her about the fact that we all “work”. Her daddy works outside the home to EARN money. Mommy works inside the home to make that EARNED money go further. And her work is to learn from mommy and daddy as much as she can.

  7. Yes, socialism. We all drive on public roads, is one socialistic thing that comes to mind…

    What should we do about education? If there were no government funded public education, many of us would be willing to teach our children at home or to pay to sent them to private schools.

    But what about children who do not come from Christian or middle-class homes, whose parents would NOT do these things for them? Is it fair to them to allow them to grow up illiterate?

    Should people like us teach those children in our homes or churches for free? What solutions do you have, Kelly? Would that be a solution, do you think: churches teaching children whose parents would not educate them?

    Churches do that in a small way by teaching religion to these children via Kids’ Clubs, VBS, etc.

  8. Although I don’t have children, I thought your post was quite true and realistic. I work as an Instructional Assistant part-time in an elementary school, and most children there take SO many things for granted. Not only that, they don’t have any manners and most of them are disrespectful of authority figures.

    But it’s not their fault, but their parents. During one of my reading groups today, a little girl (2nd grader) told me that she dressed-up as a Mafia Gangster for Halloween. She actually smiled when she said, “And I had a gun too!” I was shocked! I just wonder what this is teaching children! I could only think to myself, “How Horrible!”

    At any rate, I think it is wise to “parent on purpose,” but parents need to make sure their purpose is genuine and based on good moral principles. As with my above example, when we teach children the wrong things, they grow up thinking the wrong ideas and that’s no good for them or for society.

  9. Civilla,

    “What to do about socialism”…that’s just the problem. Once a system has been established, it is virtually impossible to remove it without everything collapsing.

    But I have some thoughts…education, for example.

    Once upon a time, people who couldn’t afford education didn’t send their kids to school. Most of those children became the infrstructure that supports the working class of the nation (a critical role) and some of them became educated anyway. Some of our most brilliant founding fathers were “too poor” for formal education…but the human spirit is inconquerable–things have a way of working themselves out.

    You can’t create a “fair” society. But the best one works when the motivation for success is kept alive.

    There is NOTHING stopping any child in America from becoming educated–even without the public school system. (I happen to think we’d be more educated without it.)

    The access to knowledge and experience we have now compared to pre-state-run schools is unparalleled; if we want to educate our children, there is no reason we can’t. ANd for the parents who are too lazy and don’t care? It all has a way of working itself out.

    Another thing…the more the family fails at its job, the more necessary it becomes for the state to pick up the slack. And the more they pick up the slack, the easier it is for families to fail.

    Vicious cycle.

  10. Hi I don’t agree with full blown socialism but personally I like roads, libraries,etc. It’s not possible to make everybody equal and to get rid of poverty completely. I feel there should be some help available the hardworking working class. I don’t like Obama’s stance on abortion or homosexuality but on the other hand McCain flipped flopped on those issues too. So anyway people need help with healthcare. What if you were in a horrible accident but didn’t have health care? What about cancer? Also there is foreign aid. We can’t get rid of poverty completely but we should do enough that most people aren’t in absolute poverty anymore. I agree that some parents spaoil their kids too much.

  11. Kelley:
    The government DOES NOT control the post office in Peru. And you are lucky if you recieve your letter or package.

    The government does control health care in Costa Rica and if you have pneumonia, you are luck if you get an x-ray in 12 months. Wish I were kidding.

    So at times, some forms of socialism are needed.

  12. Kelly, this is totally unrelated, I hope you don’t mind me posting it here – but I wanted to ask you, have you considered doing a post on losing weight/maintaining an appropriate weight from a Christian perspective? I would be interested in reading your take on this topic. I need to lose weight but find that I let myself get obsessed with it, so I wind up just abandoning the idea completely.
    You seem to have it together for the most part [wink], so I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say on this.
    Love your blog! I’ve got to try that moisturizer of yours, too!

  13. Lindsay,

    Wow…I don’t feel qualified to really address weight loss, but I do enjoy studying healthy alternatives in diet…I may just do one of those!

    By the way, I don’t have it together (wink back 😉

  14. Lindsay,

    Ironically, soon I’m going to be posting about my amazing find involving coconut oil, and the health benefits of it, which among the top include weight loss!

  15. I agree, no socialism in the family! If the baby wants to nurse she should work for it, just like I did. And as for Grandma and Grandpa, who cares if they have arthritis. If they aren’t working from sunup to sundown I sure wouldn’t want to share my crust with them. Marx’s dicta “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is just disgusting when applied to the family. If they don’t work, they don’t eat at my house. And I apply the same serious, dog eat dog principles to all my social relations. When my 90 year old neighbor needs a home cooked meal I laugh at her and ask her why her daughter doesn’t do it for her. What’s she doing freeloading off of me? Let her starve and rot! That’ll teach her to be ninety!


  16. aimai,

    Your sarcasm does nothing but reveal your complete lack of understanding about what socialism is and what it is not.

    Just to enlighten you…people who are opposed to socialism are in no way opposed to helping and sharing. The BIG, HUGE difference lies in the willingness of one person to give to another rather than the forced sharing. Two different animals all together.

    Taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves is the highest priority of a Christian.

    The church has failed, and the family, for sure, which is what makes some socialism necessary.

    But socialism, in and of itself, creates a monstrous society that will eventually collapse itself.

  17. Of the two of us it is you who doesn’t grasp what socialism is, or is not. Many wonderful countries, filled with happy, healthy, families are partly socialist. Socialism is not communism. It is partial ownership of some of the means of production or natural resources. *Alaska* is socialist–the alaskan people own the right to tax oil company revenues/charge a fee for leasing rights to exploit oil. Sarah Palin, to take one example, was an *actual socialist* distributing the wealth that results from collective ownership of the oil leases to each and every Alaskan in the form of an actual check/rebate from the government. Our government under Bush and the Republicans became partly socialist when they nationalized/bought the banks that were failing. Whether that is a good idea or not depends on whether you would rather have seen all your neighbors lose their savings overnight.

    Communism is total ownership of the means of production and of natural resources. Socialism and this country are not even on a slippery slope to communism. And at any rate in this country we aren’t even talking about socialism–we are talking about taxation. As in “no taxation without representation and no representation without taxation.” Societies that are above the level of mud huts have *expenses*–expenses like roads, bridges, mass transit, warfare, self defence, police, fire, and (gasp) schools. People who are thoughtful, committed, voting, citizens sometimes *voluntarily come together* to choose leaders and *voluntarily come together to choose how they will collectively pay for their collective good.* See, I think its important to have roads–so I choose elected officials who know how to raise tax money to pay for building and maintaining roads–sometimes even to hospitals, schools, and churches. What a communist/socialist I am. I use the power of the ballot box to determine that I and my friends and family prefer not to live in afghanistan or the sudan. Incredibly, I’m willing to voluntarily tithe to my community,in the form of taxation, in order that we should all have a higher standard of living. And taking forethought for the hard times ahead my husband and I choose to pay taxes, like the unemployment tax or FICA or medicare so that if he loses his job we *get that forced savings back* or if our parents need social security or medicare *they get back what they wisely tithed in taxes previously.*

    You simply don’t grasp the nature of democracy, of self government, or of progressive taxation. Its not theft because we mutually agree to it when we agree to accept the blessings of being active citizens in this wonderful country.

    I realize from reading the post up above that you are coming to terms, in your own way, with losing what seems to have been a very frightening election for you. And I’m sincerely moved. Because you were and are a very frightened person. As a mother I share a ton of your concerns about children in this consumerist society, and I share many of your child rearing philosophies. Only I call them “attachment parenting” and “good parenting” and “patient, loving” parenting not g-d centered parenting. And I do it because I love my children and my husband and its in our tradition, not because I’m afraid of g-d, or love g-d, or worry about offending him.

    I don’t harbor the same illusions you do that this world is not full of people just like me (and you.) I know perfectly well that down the street, over the hill, in the next county this country is full of wonderful people just trying, and often succeeding to raise their children harmoniously, beautifully, lovingly. Some of those families are of color, some are of another religion, some are gay. I don’t look at them and recoil in horror. And I don’t look at our tax policy and shriek “socialism.” I just think the world is full of some pretty fantastic people and when we all choose to work together–at the level of our families, churches and our communities, our cities, our states and our government we can get some pretty fantastic things done *together.* Collective, public, social these are all good things to me. Great things, even.

    I can’t imagine how frightened and how angry and how isolated you seem to feel, each and every day, waking up convinced that the entire country is filled with perverts, slackers, gays, atheists, bad parents. When I read today’s post way upthread I thought well, g-d bless her,she’s finally found some peace not being such a judgemental busybody. Maybe it will improve her outlook on things to give it up to g-d. I would have started there, myself, because life is too short to waste any amount of time bemoaning other people’s lives and life choices. G-d, if there is a g-d, loves all his children equally. Just like you forbid tattling among your children did you seriously think that g-d was waiting every morning for you to run in and complain that “so and so” doesn’t believe in him or “so and so” is gay or “so and so” thinks that progessive taxation is a good thing?

    Good luck with your new found equanimity. I really mean it. I am a rather sarcastic person but you and I have quite a bit in common, as mothers and lovers of the world around us. I just choose to express my values as a mother: loving, sharing, giving, caring with all g-d’s creatures instead of just with those I deem properly religious enough.


  18. aimai,

    I would laugh at your gross misconception of me but to live without God is such a sad and terrible thing that instead my heart aches for you.

    “I can’t imagine how frightened and how angry and how isolated you seem to feel, each and every day, waking up convinced that the entire country is filled with perverts, slackers, gays, atheists, bad parents.”

    I can’t imagine how frightened and angry it must be to be an atheist in this world. I don’t expect you to understand most of what I say here, because you don’t yet have eyes to see. I pray you will.

    I am not frightened, aimai. I repeatedly talk about peace and freedom from fear because of my relationship with Christ. Why does it help you to think I am frightened? To be passionate about proclaiming the freedom and joy to others and warning of a life without Christ is to be frightened?
    I know you must be searching for God more than you let on to spend your time at a blog like mine.

    “G-d, if there is a g-d, loves all his children equally.”

    Though you desecrate the name of the One who created you and yes, loves you, the love of God cannot be separated from His judgement because He is holy.

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

    Then the King will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world….

    Then he will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his angels’.”

    God, indeed loves all his children…but not everyone belongs to Him.

    By the way, you don’t voluntarily pay taxes. Here is a wise word from a Russian immigrant…that socialism will eventually lead to communism is not just my opinion 😉

    “I want to scream that socialism was never about equality. To quote Lenin the socialism is “dictatorship of proletariat “, but in the end it is just a dictatorship.
    Why so many people forget that freedom of individuality and enterprise all encompassed in the genius of capitalism makes this country great! Why so many do not realize that they live in the cleanest and most prosperous country in the world? Do you really want the government to decide how the necessities of life should be rationed or how big your home should be? Do you really believe that somebody in government can “spread the wealth around” fairly? I don’t. I’ve been there before! Also I don’t want that my children and grandchildren would live as I did with no way out. USA is only haven of freedom from government left in the world.”

    Read the rest here…

    You can even read some of the very words of those who propogate socialism and they will tell you that communism is the ultimate goal.

    Yes, very comforting that half the nation, since yesterday, is walking around saying “Yay! I won’t have to pay my mortgage anymore!”

    That’s healthy for the nation’s economy. Just rip out the basic motivation for humans to provide for themselves and we’ll all be happy.

  19. How deep the Fathers love for us
    How vast beyond all measure
    That He should give his only Son
    To make a wretch His treasure.

    How great the pain of searing loss
    The Father turns His face away
    As wounds which mar the Chosen One
    Bring many sons to glory

    Behold the Man upon the cross
    My sin upon His shoulder
    Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
    Call out amoung the scoffers

    It was my sin that held Him there
    Until it was accomplished
    His dying breath has brought me life
    I know that it is finished

    I will not boast in anything
    No gifts no power no wisdom
    But I will boast in Jesus Christ
    His death and resurrection

    Why should I gain from His reward
    I cannot give an answer
    But this I know with all my heart
    His wounds have paid my ransom

    – Stuart Townend

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