Friday, May 12, 2006

Giving Up and Giving In

Sitting in an assembly last night, I could not help but notice the large number of children making noise and causing disruptions. Some were sitting on the back of church pews forcing others behind them to move in order to see. Some were talking out loud the entire time. Some were walking around in the aisles during the program. Some were just bored and letting you know it.

My mind begins to wonder at times like these what my grandfather's generation would have done with their kids. What did the puritans do with their children in such assemblies? I'll bet it didn't sound quite like it did last night.

Lots of parents that I know foster this inane notion that such behavior is ordinary and cannot be controlled. Parents of this stripe are not flaming atheists or even uneducated simpletons. They are the people next door. This type of behavior is everywhere. All I have to do if I want to watch some kid tell his parents off in public or display some sort of reckless act of rebellion is step outside of my house. I have watched it at the park, in the grocery line, at schools, in parking lots, at my church, and even at Chic-fil-a.

Children are out of control.

That is not the most obvious observation however. We all know that children are out of control. Anyone who has ever given birth to a child or raised a child or had any interaction with a child whatsoever could tell you that children are out of control. That is their nature.

The most obvious observation about this is that the parents are out of control - literally. Parents have given up their God-ordained privilege and responsibility to control, train, instruct, and discipline their children. What parents miss in all this is that they are actually giving up their privilege and right to enjoy their children.

Children who hiss and whine and hit and ignore are not enjoyable children. Parents of these children fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day and just long to go back to work. They cherish time away from their kids. You all know exactly the type of person we're talking about. The young mother who has kept her job outside the home because it is a haven of escape where she doesn't have the weight of dealing with her children. The father who would rather go out with his friends rather than spend time taking his children camping. Bad parents are the rule not the exception.

Marie and I have witnessed first-hand things that make our toenails curl. Stuff that we thought any ol' run of the mill parent would correct right away is becoming common place behavior. Connor is even sensitive to this. In observing a child defying his parents, Connor can become noticeably unsettled. Once, on a playground, Connor heard a mother yelling at her boys because they would not listen to her. His response was classic Connor, "That mom is being ugly. She doesn't understand."

Right son. Moms and dads who fail to discipline and love their children do not understand. Giving in to your kids and letting them do what they please is not understanding. Choosing to let a child get what he wants using inappropriate and blatantly sinful behavior is not understanding. Of course the bible tells us all about this. Romans 3:11 says, "There is none who understands." Parents turn out to be bad parents because they are sinful people who are not seeking the Lord. Christians turn out to be bad parents when they acquiesce to their sin and do not seek the Lord.

When I observe what I observed last night, it only makes me hurt for the families that are dealing with it. I hurt for the kids because they will grow up thinking that the universe revolves around them and will, if not for the intervening grace of God, forevermore be a pain. I hurt for the parents who rob themselves of so much joy and torture their children because they refuse to obey God. They just don't understand.


Anonymous said...

too bad half of your readership doesn't have kids. I mean, I sort of have kids, but only when I let them in my house.

you should gently correct people in your church who have forsaken their parenting roles- you have every right to do so. people won't like you, but maybe you can spare some families from future disorder that gets a lot nastier when their kids turn 13 and think that they are adults.

I feel like such an old man. I should have never replied to this post. Aaah.

I'm not worthy! said...

You are an old man Ben, stop kiddin yourself.

I just hope I end up in a counrty where if I spank my kids then next door neighbors don't call the cops on me while their child is in "time out."

Antique Religion said...

It's just about reclaiming the glory of God in the home gentlemen and I should hope that single men were thinking about this, because you are the ones that have an opportunity to raise children from day one for the glory of God. The day that single men stop thinking of how they will raise their children will be the day that children stop being a priority in the home. Anyone care to elaborate on how many different sorts of articles are out there in the media that echo this fact?

Diet Coke Mania said...

Your post reminds me of my own kids. For a second I had a flash back to 1 1/2 weeks ago when I had to tackle my son outside the church because he was trying to run away from me since he wasn't getting what he wanted. He was literally rolling down the hill to try to get away.

I believe that children will behave badly when they want. However, you rarely hear parents correcting their behavior. (Eg. Kids running around the church after the service.) It is almost like people are afraid of their children or other people who might be observing their parenting. Chrisian parents should be teaching the biblical reason for their behavior and not simply rules.

Although I say this, I clearly have not accomplished what I say Christian parents should be doing. My kids can misbehave with the best of 'em.

Antique Religion said...

It's not about misbehavior in our children - that's a given. It's about the parents stepping up and being parents. The difference between your kids and some of the kids I saw is that you are mirroring Christ in your home and taking an active role in discipline and training.

Most parents do just what you say and ignore it. That is the most unacceptable option.

Ashton said...

Wow. Your post addresses an issue I witness every time I come home for the weekend, and I completely agree.

I think one of the things that saddens me the most is that it seems like these days, having kids (for most people) is completely about them. Their timing, their money, their jobs. The majority of parents seem to be so selfish, and they don't even recognize it as selfishness. But the fact is, it's harder to discipline your child than it is to just let them do what they want and only yell at them/spank them when they've finally gotten on your last nerve. Not that I have kids of my own, but...I'm in pretty close contact with it. Parents save their so-called "discipline" for the moments when they've reached their last bit of patience instead of realizing that it true discipline is an integral part of loving their children, and not just at times when it's convenient for them. Poor kids.

Brian tells me a lot about you and your family, and it's an encouragement to know that there are still parents who aren't typical to our culture today. And it's all a matter of obedience to God's Word.

chrome dome said...

From a Christian School teacher perspective ~ AMEN!

lutherwasright said...

you were simply having a pre-Rachel vision of what my daughter will act like. She is doomed. I am afraid, old friend, that my wife will never let me see you again for fear that our behaivor will rub off on Rachel. See ya.

Auntie Susan said...

Where's the rubber spatula when you need it?

Glenn Penner said...

Part of the problem is that we park our families with kids in the back of the church in "reserved" seating, where they can't see anything. My wife and I have raised three kids and we always insisted on 1) sitting near the front where the kids could see what was going on, 2) our kids being respectful of those around the them (i.e. quiet). It worked.