Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I LOVE this article can tease me if you want to about linking to another Wilson article, but this one is wonderful! I think this is one of my favorites. I like it so much that I am just pasting the whole thing instead of making you click a link.



Douglas Wilson

When it comes to teaching cultural standards, the task confronting parents is not to make the children conform, but rather to bring the children to love the standards being taught to them. But this cannot happen without loyalty, and loyalty has a genesis all its own.

It is not enough for parents to have a high view of their responsibilities coupled with a strict set of standards. More often than not, this by itself simply creates rebellious children. Such "high standards" in the home are nothing more than the pressure cooker lid, screwed down tight. The devil and Adam supply the necessary heat, and after about fifteen years, the pastor has quite a mess in the kitchen to clean up.
Jesus taught us emphatically about the dangers of cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside full of self-indulgence (Mt. 23:25). In our circumstances, what could the outside of the cup include? The list could contain Christian education, whether at home or in school, no R-rated movies, hormone-free chicken, bread baking, having your hair in a bun, no rock and roll, vitamins for Jesus, or any number of other things. My point here is not to get into the pros and cons of the particular things on this list, and so I will not say whether or not I wear my hair in a bun.
Obviously, the point is not to object in any way to a particular set of cultural decisions in a given home. All parents must make such decisions, and all families live with the results of them. Rather, the point is that they are not a substitute for the spiritual graces, i.e., the fruit of the Spirit. Put another way, when it comes to child-rearing, there is no substitute for grace, humility, sacrifice, kindness, shrewdness, love, tenderness, justice, and humor. The loyalty of children to parents is the fruit of the graces, and not of the externals.

This is why some parents have a comprehensive "worldview" package all worked out for the kids, only to have the kids reject the whole shebang. Other parents do far less teaching, but what teaching they do is gladly received. Perhaps such parents should have taught more, but still, it is better to have all of a smaller portion gratefully received than to have all of a larger portion ungratefully thrown to the floor.
Say a father maintains that he has a biblical worldview, but others who know him would say that he is simply dogmatic and opinionated. Because he has a biblical worldview (in his own opinion) he is therefore free to cudgel the kids with it at every opportunity. If they don't like it, they probably have a spiritual problem. After a time, this grows up into a full-blown rebelliousness, with the father assuming that the children are rejecting "the things of God."

But loyalty is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of grace. Grace, unlike movie standards, is not a fungible commodity. Grace and peace can be multiplied to us through the ministry of Word and sacrament, as God pleases, but we cannot go buy grace as though it were a bag of flour. But we can simply adopt certain external badges of our worldview commitments. We can subscribe to the right magazines, including this one, we can kill our television, we can move to the country, we can attend all the right conferences, we can drink the right beer, and we can join a church where everyone else is doing the same things we are. We can fit right in there, and when the family melts down, everyone wonders how that happened because the now-melted family "did all the right things."

Grace is obtained through the established means of grace—hearing the Word, coming to the Lord's table—and the attitude that receives God's offers in the Word and sacrament with a blessed result is the attitude of humility, repentance, tenderness, lowliness of mind, and faith. These things are not child-rearing techniques, but they are the only things that make godly child-rearing possible. In short, we need Christ and not our own to-do list. And when we have Christ, He works through us to accomplish His to-do list (Eph. 2:8-10). The good works God prepared beforehand for us to do certainly include bringing up children before Him. But child-rearing as the result of such grace is child-rearing characterized throughout by the extension of grace.
When we have received grace, and know that we have, the infallible indicator of this reception is the fact that we extend grace. We pray in the Lord's Prayer that God would treat us as we treat—fill in the blank. We are in effect asking God to take our treatment of our debtors as our working definition of grace, and to please use that definition on us the next time we need it. Now, are our children our debtors or not? How do we treat them?

All parents discipline. The thing that distinguishes them is what they discipline for and how they do it. And all discipline brings correction, admonishment, and so forth. It doesn't seem pleasant at the time, but rather painful (Heb. 12:11). But if we have learned the nature of grace, we can see that discipline can be either gracious or selfish. Gracious discipline requires something of a child as a gift to him. Selfish discipline requires something of a child as a gift to the one disciplining.
Bringing it back full circle, let us assume a discussion between a parent and child about a certain objectionable movie the child wants to see. The parent says no. We still do not know if the parent is wise. Is he giving with this decision? Or taking?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Love Does

Toby Sumpter on love covering sins:

Scripture says that “love covers a multitude of sins”. It does not say that it might or that it could. It says that it does. This means that if we are not regularly covering sins, then whatever we have, it certainly is not love. Our love for our brothers and sisters must be so great that we will do everything in our power to forgive, forget and cover over the blemishes of others. This begins with our attitudes: A firm commitment to this means that we must think the best of everyone. Paul says that love “hopes all things”. And one of the things this means is that it is a Christian duty to tell the story, remember the event, recall what he/she said, shedding the best possible light on all people involved. Your mission as a Christian is to make everyone else’s reputation as good as possible. And this is our mission even when we think someone has snubbed us, ignored us, and perhaps shown some level of disregard for us. You mission as a follower of Jesus is to bless that person and think and speak about them in the best possible light. This is at least one meaning of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Remember the words of Christ: But if you do not forgive, neither will your father in heaven forgive your trespasses. You will be judged by the standard with which you judge. And if you are picky and critical, then God will be picky and critical of you. And God knows that on even on one of our very best days, he’d have more than enough to condemn us all. But God in His great love has covered our sins. Therefore go and do likewise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great Quote

One theory has it that no one knows your child better than you do. It would be more accurate to say that no one is in a better position to know their child than the parents, provided the parents conduct themselves with wisdom. If they do not, then the chances are good to outstanding that everyone in the church will know the character of the child better than the parents do.
Parental wisdom is not automatic. Parental defensiveness is. And harvest is a bad time to decide you don't like what you planted.

Douglas Wilson

May we all be willing to *see* our children's sin so that we can help them defeat it more each day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homeschooling Craziness

Susan Wise Bauer has chronicled two days of homeschooling that I just love to read. They are helpful and hilarious. Here is her day with a 1st grader, k-4, and an 18 month old. Here is her day with a 3rd grader, 1st grader, and a 3 year old.

Two Great Parenting Tools

Don't Make Me Count to Three is a wonderful book about raising children using heart-oriented discipline and the Word of God. I have loved it! It is along the lines of Shepherding a Child's Heart, but it gives many more examples of how to apply the ideas.
I also heartily recommend Wise Words for Moms. It is a REALLY HANDY chart that has bible verses to correspond with certain sins that your kids are prone to. BUT, a unique feature that is has is questions to probe your child's heart in each instance and help them to discern what is really going on in their heart.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kids helping in the kitchen

Kids Cooking Lessons is a great site that has wonderful age appropriate ideas for getting your kids in the kitchen. My good friend Sharon sent me the link. Thanks friend!