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Parenting Power: Supply the 'Whys' or Surrender to the World's Influence
Get off your ass and do your job.
The world is a terrible place.
Yes, there are good things in the world, but the world itself — and I specifically mean societies and the amalgamation of humanity — is a place of selfishness, greed, and corruption. If it can’t convert you, it will seek to destroy you.
There’s no hesitation in saying that. Not from me, anyway. I’m the guy who laughs when people say that newborn children are "good."
No, they’re not. Newborns are the most selfish humans on the planet. Most of what they do is complain, eat, sleep, poop, pee, and if they aren’t perfectly comfortable, they’ll scream until you make it so. Sounds like some college students I know.
Doesn’t sound ‘good’ to me. That sounds selfish, and I’ve raised a few kids through the gambit of life to test this perspective. To be completely transparent, my wife still isn’t sure she agrees with me on this. Even though she’s wrong, that’s perfectly fine.
Newborns are ‘innocent’:
• not guilty of a crime or offense;
• without experience or knowledge of;
• not responsible for or directly involved in an event yet suffering its consequences;
• free from moral wrong;
• not corrupted;
• not intended to cause harm or offense;
Except for imprints/echoes from our DNA , children have a clean slate for us to write upon. It's important for parents to remember that someone will write on these slates.
The question is, will it be you?
Conversion is Rare, Even In Church
I found my son deeply troubled by some literature created by a youth council from our church. We love our spiritual community, and in most cases have a high confidence in our leaders. While I would say that we both consider ourselves to be ‘faithful members’, the first focus of our family (and how I raised my son) is to hunt for the truth. If you don’t have the truth, nothing else matters, AND it doesn’t matter where that truth comes from.
Truth is truth, wherever ’tis found, on Christian or on Heathen ground.
"This document is a bad idea, dad." He stood in my office, his broad chest heaving, anvil-sized fists clenching and relaxing repeatedly. "It’s just creating checklists for the youth to follow, and it’s dangerous, even though what it’s saying is correct."
I frowned. "It’s wrong,…but it’s right?"
"Well, yeah. Let’s take the subject of virtue as an example. We’re both in support of wearing clothes that properly cover our bodies, right? Teaching our daughters and wives about wearing certain fashions to avoid flaunting their figures. We teach our boys to respect women’s and to be mindful of wandering eyes."
"We teach them the reasons behind why we cover our bodies, though. That it isn’t because there’s something wrong with our bodies, that’s never been the point. I teach my children that their bodies are sacred. I’ve discussed that we should only uncover them at certain times in certain places. We do this why? Because we love God, we love the Lord, and we love our significant other…or we are keeping ourselves pure for when we find our significant other."
I nodded. "Complexly agree."
"Well, that’s not how this document is being used! It’s become a beating stick, waved about by youth who don’t understand the why of virtue. They’re judging others critically by the clothes they wear, not by the hearts they have. Something that I believe was created to help the youth govern themselves has become a checklist without understanding."
I’d heard concerns from several parents in our community. One couple was upset that their own child was being treated harshly by peers because of the clothes she wore. What bothered me about the abuse of this young lady, in particular, was that she was a ‘virtuous’ child. Kind, modest, thoughtful, and always being of service to others. The challenge here was that her family also struggled financially.
Much of the clothing worn in that family wasn’t from design, but by limited choice. Wear what you have or go naked…and it was a situation my family had been familiar with.
"When we focus our attentions and love on the Savior, dad, and we love a thing for itself,…we tend to look like that thing we love."
I smiled at him. "When you love the truth for the beauty of the truth, you tend to speak the truth more readily."
"Exactly. But here’s the thing — if there was a fire, and my wife had to flee the shower in a towel — that document would label her an offender. But knowing her heart, and how she loves virtue, and that she fled the house to avoid the fire, she remains virtuous."
It gave me something to think about.
Our Kids, Our Responsibility
That conversation cemented my mind to how our children are influenced.
How their personalities and belief systems are shaped and solidified, affecting the process whereby every child makes decisions in the world around them. Every interaction your child has will change their lens and the filtering process they use. The greater and more consistent the interaction, the greater the influence one has on altering your child’s lens. Stop and think about that for a moment, because I’m not knit-picking at some parenting "style" here.
I’m pointing out the foundation of the future of the world.
This issue affects everything you experience.
That leads me to a few questions:
• Do you leave the teaching of your child up to someone else?
• Have you placed the teaching of your child in the hands of your enemies (more on that in a moment)?
• Do you complain when your child turns out differently than you hoped or expected?
…then what the hell did you think would happen?
A Harsh Perspective On Schools
We are a homeschooling family. When my wife and I got married, things were already so bad we decided right from the beginning to take charge of their education. I’d also like to state here that all credit goes to my wife, not me. I’ve been here at home, working, but she does a magnificent job instructing our children.
I am useful in providing motivation, though.
…hey, even dad’s need ice cream from time to time.
I’d like to propose a perspective about schools you may not have considered. This isn’t to slam schools, for there are always exceptions, and I know of many. What I want to suggest is that you consider the mindset and intent of those working in the schools. Think about the entities that fund, control, and regulate the schools..
"Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening. The average American [should be] content with their humble role in life…"
– William T. Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education in the late 1800s
If a school receives funding from the government, you're already at a disadvantage, just on principle. My personal stand is that the government should never be involved in education. It should be a local issue, controlled by those who know their children and their needs. My vote is always parents educating their own kids, but a locally controlled school is better than a government controlled school.
‘Parent choice’ proceeds from the belief that the purpose of education is to provide individual students with an education. In fact, educating the individual is but a means to the true end of education, which is to create a viable social order to which individuals contribute and by which they are sustained.
– Association of California School Administrators
When I mentioned giving the teaching of your children over to your enemies, I meant that literally. People who have a specific agenda to separate you and your influence from your offspring. Teachers and/or administrators who don’t believe as you believe. People who do not respect your morals and standards. There are parents rising against the public school systems in some areas, seeking to gain better control over what children are taught. Some say ‘Parents’ Rights’ have gone too far.
My response is, "That depends…"
Why are parents pushing back? Why are books being banned in some locations? Why are parents tired of the ‘woke’ agenda? At first glance I was shocked — books are the lifeblood of our household — so I had to ask myself if there was more to general accusations across the aisles? Turns out there is. Whether or not you agree with the banning of books, I challenge you to take a step back and ask what books were being banned.
PEN AMERICA did an article: Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, which I suggest you read, where they cover the 2021-2011 school year. It did not altogether surprise me at the categories of topics being banned, but that tells me very little. Books are individual creations. Until you show me the titles and a solid synopsis of the content, I cannot decide if such a ban was ‘just.’ Throwing it into a general category while pointing fingers does little to sway my view.
What I want to know is, why do parents want certain books banned?
Does this, once more, come back to influencing our children?
Explaining the WHY’s to Our Kids
It made my heart sing when I overheard one of my older children having a conversation with a close friend of his. The friend was complaining about the way his parents insisted he comply to everything they asked "because they said so". I still hear that phrase being used by parents passing me in the grocery store, or in the halls of church.
"My parents never said that," replied my child. "They always explained why they wanted me to do something, made sure I understood the reason, then left me to decide whether or not to obey. You still got punished if you rebelled, but you always knew why my parents did what they did."
I believe that’s one reason my children often stand out. They don’t go along blindly without striving for an understanding first. In the current state of the world, it looks like a superpower to outsiders. In reality, it’s my wife and I striving to do the best we can to give our children a foundation they can stand on. We do this by sharing our values with each child and then explaining why we believe the way we do.
This basic function of parenting gives a child a base of comparison to what they see in the world.
When you don’t take the responsibility for teaching your own children, someone else will fill that void. Look around you. Look at the headlines and twisted perspectives on social media, and skewed views that encroach on others and their freedoms. People with conflicting ideology than your own — secular rather than religious views — and the list goes on.
Why is everyone shocked when they see so many struggles and problems with our youth?
Question for Discussion:
How were you raised by your parents? Are you following their example, or doing something different?
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