My sister and I share 260 friends on Facebook; more than that if you include the folks included in my “Great FB Purge of 2011”. It’s rather evident to our immediate families and to many of our 260 shared comrades that she and I have very different parenting styles, but I respect different parenting styles, as long as they work for your family! Different strokes, ya know?
She posted an article on FB about Attachment Parenting called “I Am Not Raising Obedient Children”. Since I referred to my Big as “obedient as an almost 5-year old can be expected to be” in my In a Minute post, the article piqued my interest. I was careful not to read it with my hackles up, as fellow parents can attest to happening in their own minds. I urge you to try to read this post with the same intent that I read the AP one. I also urge you to read the AP article and see what jumps out at you, too!
Since reading the article, I have been looking to reconcile my parenting style, having been negatively portrayed, with my want to have my kids grow up ready to face the world, which the article implies that by being obedient, kids, once they are out in the world on their own, will not have the skill to “recognize their feelings, appreciate the significance of those feelings, and trust their instincts to make a considerate and educated decision”.
Dictionary.com defines “obey” as “to comply with or follow (a command, restriction, wish,instruction, etc.)”, and “obedient” as “to agree to obey”. To agree. In it’s very definition, an obedient child agrees to obey. Those of us parents who raise obedient children are not all tyrants. That’s not to say there aren’t folks out there unfit to parent because they become enraged when their child is disobedient, to the point of violence or scarring words. I’m just not one of them.
I’ve been reading “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, each morning during my Mommy Time. It just so happens that the chapter I am on goes in depth on the topic of surrendering and obedience to God. What fortuitous timing! I find God answers many of my unspoken haunts when I need direction. The Bible defines “obey” as “submitting to authority”. While I am not presuming to liken myself to God, I do recognize that I am an authority figure in my children’s lives.
While Warren uses the word “surrender”, not “obey/obedience”, I couldn’t help but see the two as interchangeable. When we marry, we vow to “honor and obey”. Is this not to mean we surrender to our partner in some sense? Deuteronomy 4:40 says “Obey the laws and commands that I am giving you today so that things will go well for you and your children…”. Does this not mean that we are to surrender our worldly fears, dreams, desires?
Warren said exactly what I am feeling when he says “[An] aspect of a fully surrendered life is trust”. My children trust me, and really, isn’t that what any parent wants? They trust that I will take care of them. They trust that I will feed them, love them, shelter them, kiss their boo-boos, be an ear to listen, and share my life experience with them through example and with care.
When your child receives a gift, what do you hope/expect/want them to say?
When you tell your child to not run out in the street, what do you hope/expect/want them to do?
When you reach for your child’s hand in a busy parking lot, how do you hope/expect/want them to respond?
I’m not going to answer those questions for you, but I know what I hope/expect/want my children to do. I am not shy about telling them either. Children are too young to know the dangers that may befall them. As their parents, it is our
job duty responsibility to teach them.