What has me ranting about babies and their God-given ability of communicating their needs??
Just a recent comment made from the pulpit about children, and how utterly sinful they are. (Yes, I know, we're all born with a sinful nature, and a bent toward "our own way" as Isaiah put it.) But the comment was (1.) made by a young guy with no children (2.) in that tone that implied "children are bent on destroying everything good around them and controlling/manipulating everyone/everything they can--don't let them!!!" or what I like to call the children are merely "vipers in diapers" attitude. And it bugs me, badly. Made me want to ask him if he'd been reading up in Ezzo's Babywise already. 'Cause BabyWise does that a LOT. Implying there's a need to differentiate between a baby crying to present a need and some OTHER kind of crying--to manipulate their authorities or demand attention? Who looks at infants that way??
As KatieKind put it in her comment on parenting toddlers--equally applicable to parents of the very young as well--"If they could simply tell you, "Don't listen to me, I know I'm being irrational about this, I'm totally exhausted and not thinking straight" like a girlfriend would, things would be different." But they can't. And I'm afraid this attitude... this assumption that babies are hell-bent on manipulation and control of their parents from their very youngest days... is doing great damage to relationships between parents and children in the Church.
Where in Scripture are children EVER referred to in such a denigrating way? From Isaiah's "can a woman forget her nursing child?" to Jesus' "suffer the little children and forbid them not," I'm not finding a Biblical defense for this prevalent attitude toward children--anybodys children--but especially not children of believers. If the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing (I Cor. 7:14), how much more their children?
And don't get me started on the Pearl's. From the introduction of Pearl's To Train Up A Child: These truths are not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, but rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train His children. Um... really?? God trains us like the Amish train their mules? Really?? My Bible says He knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust. And the verses before and after that?? Psalm 103:8-18...
The LORD [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep [his anger] for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust. [As for] man, his days [are] as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD [is] from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.In short, God doesn't view us as "vipers in diapers" so why should we allow our children to be viewed this way?
What do we do with vipers? Off with their heads!!
What ought we to do with our children? Love, train, nurture. Even when they cry. :-)
In the words of Barbara Curtis (found here): "Why ... worry so much about parents being ruled by their babies? Why even choose that framework? When I cry out and God meets my needs, is He being ruled by me?" Worth thinking on, yes?
And a fantastic series on grace in parenting by ThatMom, the latest installment of which is found here.