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Jesu, Juva

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Becoming

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We sometimes think our child is deficient because he wants to touch the vase and we have to transform the child into somebody who does not want to touch the vase. But your task is not to teach the child how to be a child—the child already knows how to be a child. You are not teaching your children to be children. You are teaching your children to grow into adults.

This is why, when you are in this showdown across the coffee table, you should look into the future with the eye of faith and see your child standing where you are now standing and their children standing where he is now standing. And how will he know how to deal his son? He will have learned how from you!

If you do not know how to be patient in the face of repeated provocations, your children are not going to know either. When you discipline your children correctly, you are loving your grandchildren. Your job is not to teach them how to be an acceptable child, but to show them how to be a responsible adult—because that is the whole point.

Be honest—you bought the vase at a yard sale last summer and that vase is going to be in another yard sale this coming summer. Who cares about the vase? The child is going to live forever. The child is not something you acquired or are going to get rid of in a yard sale. The vase is. You are not teaching the child to be a good version of what they are. You are rather teaching them to be what they are becoming. . .

This principle does not change. Suppose you are dealing with an obstinate teenager and you are thinking “How to fix the teenager” is your task for the day. Your job is not to fix the teenager. Your task is to model for that teenager how to be a parent. Your teen, in just a few short trips around the sun, is going to have a teenager of her own. You are not training her to be a teenager. She has that down already. You are preparing her for the day when she won’t be. . . .

. . . If I have mastered all the parenting techniques but have not love, I am nothing . . .

Imagine a father and a son in the presence of an unsplit cord of wood. What is the father’s duty? His duty is to take two axes, hand one of them to his son, and to love God and to also love a morning of splitting wood, and to do so alongside his son whom he also loves. That is what godly childrearing is.

Love God, love what you are doing, and love the people God gave you to do it with. Does that remove the need to correct? No, you have to show them how to hold the ax and keep them from swinging it around carelessly. Correction, discipline, teaching, mentoring—all of it must be there because you love Jesus, because you love the wood, and because you love your son. That is what you must do.

Douglas Wilson, Why Children Matter, Chapter 13

See also: Self-control

Written by Scott Moonen

July 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Singing

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Ephesians [5:1] says that God treats us as children. Since Scripture shows how He treats us, we should desire to be like Him in how we treat our children. As He deals with us, so we should deal with our own children. And we see from Zephaniah [3:17] that He rejoices over us.

When Jesus intervened to save us, He did so at great cost to Himself. When He took the loaf of bread that represented His own broken body, He picked it up and gave thanks. As Hebrews 12 says, Jesus did what He did on the cross “for the joy that was set before Him.” . . . God is mighty to save, and He saves with singing.

Now we know from the story of the whole Bible that saving people involves sacrifice, blood, and things being broken. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, but He did it with singing. Not only did Jesus give thanks the night He instituted the meal, but afterward they sang a psalm, and then they went out (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26). Jesus literally sang as He was preparing to go to the cross.

So, the sacrifices that you will make for your children should be something you can sing over. If there is not a song in it, it is not a biblical sacrifice. Without a song, it is a poor-me, look-at-the-martyr-go sacrifice, and those kinds of sacrifices have a very poor return. You are not just supposed to sing over your children when they are being adorable, asleep in their bed, and you can be at peace with them since they are not misbehaving at the moment. Life is messier than that, and the whole thing—including the mess—should be met with a song. The delight that we are imitating is not an unrealistic delight. This kind of delight takes account of the world as it is, and even so, it rejoices. You sing over your children when you are sacrificing for them, when you are taking the hit for them, and when they have no idea what you are giving up for them.

Douglas Wilson, Why Children Matter, Chapter 3

See also: Singing and slaying

Written by Scott Moonen

July 26, 2019 at 10:30 am

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Singing and slaying

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The Rohirrim sing oft in battle:

Merry and Pippin heard, clear in the cold air, the neighing of war–horses, and the sudden singing of many men. The Sun’s limb was lifted, an arc of fire, above the margin of the world. Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the East; the red light gleamed on mail and spear.

And much later:

And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of the battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

See also: Worship is warfare, Treebeard, Worship is warfare (2)

Written by Scott Moonen

December 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm

The secret of religion

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Protestants are inclined to leave [education] more to the public school. It should be the other way around, because the living religious attitude is that part of our growth, or spiritual growth, is that we are becoming more and more the authority for our children, the more we are real fathers and mothers. . . .

The secret of religion [is] that it is a relation between two generations. . . .

Religion begins, gentlemen, with the point of contact between two lives separated by a death. . . And all religion is a victory over death. (Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Comparative Religion, 1954)

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15 ESV)

Written by Scott Moonen

November 27, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Rules

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We assume that rules will irremediably inhibit what would otherwise be the boundless and intrinsic creativity of our children, even though the scientific literature clearly indicates, first, that creativity beyond the trivial is shockingly rare and, second, that strict limitations facilitate rather than inhibit creative achievement. Belief in the purely destructive element of rules and structure is frequently conjoined with the idea that children will make good choices about when to sleep and what to eat, if their perfect natures are merely allowed to manifest themselves. These are equally ungrounded assumptions. (Jordan Peterson, 12 Rules for Life, Rule 5)

See also: Self-control

Written by Scott Moonen

September 1, 2018 at 11:02 am

Posted in Books, Parenting, Quotations

Leadership and maturation

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Peter Leithart shares some wisdom from Jordan Peterson:

I have learned not to steal my clients’ problems from them. I don’t want to be the redeeming hero or the deus ex machina—not in someone else’s story.

This reminds me of Edwin Friedman:

Increasing one’s pain threshold for others helps them mature. . . .

In any partnership, the more anxious you are to see that something is done, the less motivated your partner will be to take the lead. . . .

The children who work through the natural difficulties of growing up with the least amount of difficulty are those whose parents made them least important to their own salvation.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 13, 2018 at 10:06 am

Posted in Parenting, Quotations

Nowhere

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We must realize the yawning pitfall in that very characteristic of home life which is so often glibly paraded as its principal attraction. ‘It is there that we appear as we really are: it is there that we can fling aside the disguises and be ourselves.’ These words, in the Vicar’s mouth, were only too true and he showed at the lunch table what they meant. Outside his own house he behaves with ordinary courtesy. He would not have interrupted any other young man as he interrupted his son. He would not, in any other society, have talked confident nonsense about subjects of which he was totally ignorant: or, if he had, he would have accepted correction with good temper. In fact, he values home as the place where he can ‘be himself’ in the sense of trampling on all the restraints which civilized humanity has found indispensable for tolerable social intercourse. And this, I think, is very common. What chiefly distinguishes domestic from public conversation is surely very often simply its downright rudeness. What distinguishes domestic behavior is often its selfishness, slovenliness, incivility—even brutality. And it will often happen that those who praise home life most loudly are the worst offenders in this respect: they praise it—they are always glad to get home, hate the outer world, can’t stand visitors, can’t be bothered meeting people, etc.—because the freedoms in which they indulge themselves at home have ended by making them unfit for civilized society. If they practised elsewhere the only behaviour they now find ‘natural’ they would simply be knocked down.

How, then, are people to behave at home? If a man can’t be comfortable and unguarded, can’t take his ease and ‘be himself’ in his own house, where can he? That is, I confess, the trouble. The answer is an alarming one. There is nowhere this side of heaven where one can safely lay the reins on the horse’s neck. It will never be lawful simply to ‘be ourselves’ until ‘ourselves’ have become sons of God. It is all there in the hymn—‘Christian, seek not yet repose.’ This does not mean, of course, that there is no difference between home life and general society. It does mean that home life has its own route of courtesy—a code more intimate, more subtle, more sensitive, and, therefore, in some ways more difficult, than that of the outer world.

Finally, must we not teach that if the home is to be a means of grace it must be a place of rules? There cannot be a common life without a regula. The alternative to rule is not freedom but the unconstitutional (and often unconscious) tyranny of the most selfish member.

In a word, must we not either cease to preach domesticity or else begin to preach it seriously? Must we not abandon sentimental eulogies and begin to give practical advice on the high, hard, lovely, and adventurous art of really creating the Christian family? (C. S. Lewis, “The Sermon and the Lunch,” God in the Dock)

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

“You reckon he’s crazy?”

Miss Maudie shook her head. “If he’s not he should be by now. The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets—”

“Atticus don’t ever do anything to Jem and me in the house that he don’t do in the yard,” I said, feeling it my duty to defend my parent.

“Gracious child, I was raveling a thread, wasn’t even thinking about your father, but now that I am I’ll say this: Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets. How’d you like some fresh poundcake to take home?”

I liked it very much. (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, chapter 5)

See also: Self–control, Personhood.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm