Last week we were walking out of Wal-Mart, and immediately heard the shrill cries of a boy around 5 years old. He wasn’t in any danger, he was mad at his dad who clearly was not giving him something he wanted. The dad was putting groceries away, glancing at his son with a mix of irritation, exasperation and learned helplessness…
I see this almost every time I’m at the store. Kids screaming, yelling, pouting… Parents many times seem oblivious, having long ago hit the “off switch,” sporadically shushing and snapping back “you stop it!”
I find it interesting to observe just how long things will go until the inevitable takes place – mom or dad GIVE IN, to everyone’s delight. Some times I want to give in for them, just so it will stop. Sad thing is the child is learning WHAT THEY WANT IS MOST IMPORTANT, and the way to get it is MANIPULATION.
Whatever happened to learning the virtues of respect, patience and “you don’t get everything you want”?? When I was growing up, yelling always got me something, but never what I wanted…
It is true when it comes to parenting (and most of life) the most loving thing to do is usually the hardest thing to do.
Methods of discipline have changed with the advent of more empathy and encouragement. Typically more love and understanding is a great addition! Sadly, discipline is all but missing from the equation. And discipline is what brings humility – prerequisite for maturing into the person God made us to be. As such, it is a sign of real love.
Check out these verses from Hebrews 12 (Message Version) “At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
A few months ago my wife was reading a quote to me that blew me away. It was from William Law’s classic “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life: the Spirit of Love.” If you want to take a few moments to ponder these words (and wade through the language differences from 1728), you might be blown away and motivated anew as I was.
The first temper that we try to awaken in children, is pride; as dangerous a passion as that of lust. We stir them up to vain thoughts of themselves, and do everything we can to puff up their minds with a sense of their own abilities. Whatever way of life we intend them for, we apply to the fire and vanity of their minds, and exhort them to everything from corrupt motives. We stir them up to action from principles of strife and ambition, from glory, envy, and a desire of distinction, that they may excel others, and shine in the eyes of the world. We repeat and inculcate these motives upon them, till they think it a part of their duty to be proud, envious, and vain-glorious of their own accomplishments.
And when we have taught them to scorn to be outdone by any, to bear no rival, to thirst after every instance of applause, to be content with nothing but the highest distinctions, then we begin to take comfort in them, and promise the world some mighty things from youths of such a glorious spirit.
And after all this, we complain of the effects of pride; we wonder to see grown men actuated and governed by ambition, envy, scorn, and a desire of glory; not considering that they were all the time of their youth called upon to all their action and industry, upon the same principles. You teach a child to scorn to be outdone, to thirst for distinction and applause; and is it any wonder that he continues to act all his life in the same manner? Now if a youth is ever to be so far a Christian, as to govern his heart by the doctrines of humility, I would fain know at what time he is to begin it: or, if he is ever to begin it at all, why we train him up in tempers quite contrary to it?