Generation Cedar

“Do you think in 300 years, people will look back to our day and find as many great men as these?” I would like to think so….but those men didn’t just happen to become great. I would be willing to bet they had great mothers 😉

Following up on the recent post about parents who don’t like their children, I wanted to bring up some basic concepts about parenting. Maybe there are those reading who just don’t know?

Foundational to everything is the understanding of WHY it is so important to invest the time and energy it will take into raising pleasant, obedient children. There is no point in doing the hard work of parenting to someone who doesn’t think it’s important!

Children are people; and not only people, but the people on whose backs will fall the success or failure of our civilization. As Christians, it’s even bigger. These little people given to us are our legacy to whom we are given the task of passing on the great faith of our God. If we fail, it is no small thing.

Contrary to culture, this is not a me-isolated world; we affect each other tremendously. And as such, it falls to all of us to bring up loving, hard-working, respectful people. Look around and you’ll see the results of thousands who have not taken this job seriously. We’re not talking about just a few rules to make the child-years easier…we’re talking about laying the foundation for what kind of people they will grow up to be, which will affect the world in which we live.

After that, I think establishing authority as a parent is paramount. This seems so obvious, but I’m constantly amazed at parents whose children speak to them as an equal–mostly in a condescending tone.

Authority is established very early. There are so many opportunities for parents to lay this groundwork with their babies. Even at around 7 or 8 months, parents can begin to establish authority by the tone of voice and getting them used to certain words. I know that authority can be recaptured at a later age, but it is so much easier done early.

A baby in a high chair is a great time to do early training. They almost all want to throw things down on the floor. But a constant reminder in a firm tone quickly establishes that there are “do’s and don’ts” in his world. (They didn’t know that when they were born!)

There should be a clear understanding about what should be expected from a child. Talking back should simply not be allowed, not even in a playful mood. And it should never be laughed at. What may seem cute as a child, grows ugly quickly. Honoring and obeying parents is the only command given to children. It is our job to nurture that. Furthermore, it will have huge implications for their spiritual relationship with God the Father.

Obedience should be expected in everything, even the small things. It’s easy for a distracted mother to say “Tom, will you pick up your toys?” And then not follow through to see that he does. Make sure he hears the command, and then expect immediate obedience. Again, early training makes this a little easier. Of course training obedience is a process. They don’t just get it over night, and sometimes there are set backs. But constant awareness and reminder will eventually take root.

I personally think it’s important for young children to do “quiet things” from time to time. Puzzles, coloring and blocks is an underestimated essential for a developing child. The more tv is limited, the longer attention span a child will develop. Constant visual and auditory over-stimulus does a lot of damage.

I think parents should expect their young children to learn to not scream or be too loud indoors. Of course there are times of playing and laughing and “good noise”, but I’ve noticed a trend with many children who just speak in a raised tone constantly. I’m not sure the reason, but it can grate on the nerves, and it’s just poor manners. There is no reason a child can’t be taught to speak in a normal tone of voice when he wants something. (I know a child who is around 8 who literally screams everything–no matter what. It would put me in a straight jacket.)

Of course hitting and being aggressive toward parents or anyone else seems like an obvious thing, but unfortunately, I see it a lot. So, to state the obvious, parents should never tolerate being hit by their children! Honor–learning what it means is so important!

Basic courtesies are easily taught at a young age. (I say “easily” not meaning that exactly; it’s still constant training, but with consistency and everything else in place, it’s not too hard.) Please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me–these used to be normal.

In a nutshell, a “well-behaved child” should not be the exception in public! Encourage every mother you can to invest the time and energy needed to lay these foundations. They are not just for now; they are the groundwork for a well-functioning adult!

We were reading “The Story of Our Nation” today, particularly about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was amazing to think about how many incredible men lived in the same time period, among a fairly small group of colonists.

I asked my children, “Do you think in 300 years, people will look back to our day and find as many great men as these?” I would like to think so….but those men didn’t just happen to become great. I would be willing to bet they had great mothers 😉

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11 Responses

  1. I certainly agree with your child training points – even if I don’t always live up to them.

    As for your quote about those great men having great mothers – let’s give some credit to the fathers, too! After all, they must have chosen their wives very carefully

  2. Kim,

    Agreed 😉 By the way, I don’t live up to these tips all the time either…just for the record 😉 In fact, it was energizing for me to write it– good reminder to be careful to stay focused.

  3. Kim,

    Agreed 😉 By the way, I don’t live up to these tips all the time either…just for the record 😉 In fact, it was energizing for me to write it– good reminder to be careful to stay focused.

  4. If they all turn out half as sweet and well mannered as Bria, you have arrived.

    I needed this post after an exhausting/trying week dealing with character issues. Thanks so much!

  5. All great tips!
    You know another thing that we found is to base our parenting on the understanding that No one is good – no not one. And kids are no better example of this.
    And then secondly, we discipline not only on actions but attitudes as well. If they do the right thing with the wrong attitude, it gets disciplined. This way, we’re laying the foundations of having self-control over thoughts.

    Have a blessed day!

  6. I love this post – you covered things I see every day and wish I could speak on. I am just now pregnant with my first child, but one of the first things my husband I agreed on (even before marriage) was what would be expected of our children and how important discipline is. At first, our son or daughter will just look like a cute little baby, but what we will be looking at is a real human being – someone who will grow into an adult and we have the responsibility to produce (to the best our God-given ability) a productive member of society.

    I do have to add that children hitting parents is a major pet peeve of mine. My younger sister lets her daughter get away with that. I try not to overstep my bounds with other people’s children (especially not yet being a mother myself), but I had to say something when it happened in my own house. My niece wouldn’t speak to me for a while, but it was worth it to see her treat her mother a little nicer (at least in my presence).

  7. Once, while visiting a new church, our children (four of them) sat with us in the pew waiting for service to begin. A friend we hadn’t seen in a while came over to say hello and chat. At one point he asked, “What’s wrong with them?”, nodding toward my kids. He thought something must be physically or mentally wrong with them, or at the least they had an unhealthy shyness, because they were not running around the sanctuary screaming and taking things apart like all of the other children in the room. We told him they just had manners. He looked perplexed. Can you imagine? Respectful behaviour in church is considered odd? No wonder people don’t want to have children. How can we possibly require good behaviour if we don’t even know what it looks like anymore?

  8. I would like to whole heartily agree with Sandy’s comment! A great big AMEN!!
    My experience has been that just because I’m striving for that type of pleasant and obedient child, I suddenly become the odd one just because it’s so different from the typical. Or…. people have actually commented that because the Lord knew I was going to have “so many” children that He just gave me ones that were extra good. UGH! Can you believe people actually say that!!! I want to SHOUT that I work hard at this. It’s everyday training that happens 24/7—it’s that important. And then there’s the people that lay in wait, the one’s that want to see the children misbehave so that they can say– I told you so. Prove that I don’t have it all together. (which I have never claimed to have ;0)
    Oh the pressures of having more than two children! LOL!
    I also would like to add that my comments are not a blanket statement- they apply to many but not all ;0)
    Thanks again Kelly–awesome post!
    Mamma to 6 beautiful blessings that are still a work in progress!

  9. “What may seem cute as a child, grows ugly quickly. Honoring and obeying parents is the only command given to children. It is our job to nurture that.”

    Amen, amen, amen! Thank you for this basic and wise advice that, sadly, is really not a part of mainstream parenting today.

    I really liked your tip about expecting obedience even in the small things. Our 18-month-old is learning to put away her toys before we leave the room to move onto something else. It is very difficult for me to always follow through when I ask her to put away the toys. Sometimes, it can take 5 minutes just to get a few items put back if she is being disobedient. It would be so much easier to just toss them in the basket myself and let her run out the door. But, I know that in years to come and with other children in tow, I’m going to be glad I laid the foundation for obedience and neatness in her now.

    Thank you for writing this, Kelly. As a young mom, I will be tucking this away for future reference.


  10. Obviously, I do not have the wealth of experience you do–but I have been amazed how receptive my 8-month-old daughter is to training.

    About a month ago, she started buzzing and spitting out her food. Probably quite cute to anyone who might have been watching, but luckily no one was. So I told her “No, we don’t spit our food.” I conveyed the meaning through facial expression and tone as well. She did it again, and I told her if she did not stop spitting she would be done. She did not stop, so I put away her food (she had breastmilk instead, but that’s not as fun). After two meals were preempted, she stopped doing it! And when she started again, I warned her, then praised her when she did the right thing. And I have not taken another meal away because of spitting.

    She has also responded well to being stopped when she was pulling on Mommy while breastfeeding (either because she was bored or because things weren’t fast enough for her liking–either way, it hurt). I am amazed how much she can absorb. I try not to say “no” very much, because I want her to be able to explore, but as a very ordinary mommy with a very young child and no special training, I have seen results.

  11. What an excellent post! I know you’ve written a few ebooks on homeschooling, but now as I approach my upcoming marriage with a Christian perspective, I’d love to learn more about child training. I do so want to raise Godly and obedient children. So, I guess what I’m asking is if you’d ever consider writing an ebook about your journey as a deliberate mother? Or, have you?
    Ps. I’ve relaunched my blog to reflect my new life as a Christian. Please pop in.

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