As my last two posts, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Lean On Your Lover,” dealt with the topic of our temporal and our eternal marriages, I thought that the next few posts should deal with something else that is also near and dear to our hearts, children. Many experienced teachers and counselors are available that far outweigh me in the area of advice on raising children. The raising of children is not my area of expertise so I do not intend to offer my two cents worth on that topic. The only weight I carry is that, like many of you, I’ve been there done that, and I claim no certification. Also, as many of you have already raised your children, these posts and my two cents may seem passe. However looking backward without vain regrets is heathy for us all. As some of you may only be children and far from being parents, you can benefit by reading these posts from which you may see a need for reorientation of your views toward being children of God.
I’m not a big fan of self-help books or programs. You know the type. The author usually has a bunch of letters before or behind his name and he is eager to let you know that he is an expert and you are an imbecile. They go around promoting their work speaking at conferences and selling their potions like the snake oil salesmen that they usually are. Hind sight is usually your only defense against their snares. Quite often, only time will tell that they nor their advice were particularly effective at solving your problem. Remember there is nothing new under the sun, just repackaging.
When we started our family, I remember the popular books and programs that were recommended to us. How we were raised wasn’t right, so here’s how you fix how poorly your parents messed you up. I was always mesmerized to hear and see how these plans resulted in all these perfect little angels who walked in lockstep to their parents direction. One plan in particular, let’s call it, “Raise Your Children Our Way” by Godly George and Saintly Susan, promoted having your children voice there concerns over the justness of your directions to them by giving them the opportunity to appeal your decisions. Literally the child was taught to say, “May I appeal” when you ruled on matters of behavior . For example, Dad comes home and the child’s bike is in the driveway and he has to get out of his car and move it. The child had been told not to leave their bike in the driveway. Dad would then go to the child and say, “I told you not to leave your bike in the driveway and therefore you will not be able to ride your bike for two days.” The child could then say, “May I appeal?” Dad could then grant an appeal to the child but he would qualify the appeal request by stipulating that the child must introduce “new information” in his defense. In other words, stuff Dad couldn’t have possibly known, due to his self absorbed awareness of only that which was Dad stuff. For example, the child could make the argument that the fact that a terrible electrical storm arose out of nowhere as he was riding and as he raced home he crashed into the fence and fell causing great bodily injury, and by the time he regained consciousness he was so disoriented that he could not locate the garage, and when he finally did get his bearings, he found that the power had been lost due to a tree falling on the electrical service connection, and the garage door would not open, and after locating his mother, who was diligently making bread in the kitchen, sewing new clothes for the other fifteen children, singing hymns and oblivious to the hurricane outside, she was unable to manually open the garage door, due to the fact that pulling the red handle on the cord hanging from the latch was a “man” thing and out of her sphere of wifely responsibility, he was providentially hindered from completing the duty of putting his bike away. The child would then sum up his defense in a closing argument that due to the totality of the circumstances he did not feel as though he was guilty of the crime of negligent bike putting away and was therefore suing for mercy. Dad would then evaluate the “new information” and make his ruling. Everyone could then have a group hug.
What a wonderful system this is. We should by the six DVD set and accompanying book, workbook, quick reference guide and charts to stick on the refrigerator, take it home and try it out on our little brood, right! This will solve all our problems! We will have perfect little children too and everyone at Church will think we are the super sanctified duo. They might even let us teach the parenting class next season. We still laugh about that one. I’m pretty sure that my wife saw through that scam but I bought it hook, line, and sinker. There were several along the way and I do not disparage anyone who has a successful plan that works for them. However, there is no one size fits all system developed by man.
My chief point in all this is to say, in God’s plan for parents, he assumes one fact that we don’t often factor in. His plan is perfect and was implemented before the dawn of time, specifically suited for your individual good and His triune Glory. Your successes and your failures were predetermined by the counsel His will. Your weakness and dependence upon his sovereignty in raising your children is for His Glory.
That’s why the series of posts forthcoming will not be about raising our children. Rather it will be about the nature of God’s raising His children. I plan to use examples of God’s sovereign grace, righteousness (promise keeping), justice and truth to make the case for our trusting in him. Stay tuned.