Saturday, January 30, 2010

things kids say...

I had noticed BD#1 was streching when he came out of his bedroom after his nap, so I asked him if he was still tired. This was his response:

"When I stretch, I'm pushing sleep away. When I was trying not to go to sleep, the nap was so strong that it beat me."
BD#1, age 4.
This afternoon.

Kids!!! Gotta love 'em! :-)

Must read: UNICEF in Haiti

You may have noticed I've added a list of bloggers in Haiti to my sidebar. They are all folks working in Haiti with several small Christian NGOs, and were there on the ground *before* the earthquake.

Apparently the international adoption situation in Haiti is getting... "interesting," due primarily to high-level interference by UNICEF. Read, then write.

Read: No Place for Politics

Raymond Joseph
Haitian Ambassador to US
p 202-332-4090
f 202-745-7215

Kenneth H Merten
US Ambassador to Haiti
Tabarre 41, Blvd 15 Octobre
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
P 509 22 29 8000
F 509 22 29 8028

Hilary Clinton/Dept of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Loving Our Kids on Purpose

Recently, I finished reading Danny Silk's book, Loving Our Kids on Purpose. The author is some sort of family or associate pastor, but he indicates that he wrote the book because of his experience as a foster-parent having to utilize non-corporal discipline exclusively. Despite the stated basis for the book, it appears the only specific examples he cites pertain to his natural children.

His main argument in the book is that parents should love their children without causing them to fear punishment or discipline such as spanking or the rod. His primary, and perhaps sole, scriptural support is I John 4:18 which states, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (NIV)

On the surface, the above verse makes a fairly convincing case. After all, it seems pretty clear that fear and love are mutually exclusive at least in this passage. And although Mr. Silk does not exactly build his case with scripture, he does pull out of his bag of tricks a handy anecdote, which he repeats "ad nauseum", to really cinch the deal. It appears that at some point in time either he or one of his children noticed a picture of a large yellow construction-sized dump-truck crushing a red street-sized pick-up. Upon viewing this picture he seems to have had an epiphany of sorts and concluded that there are no yellow trucks in Heaven.

I know pastors love their illustrations, but this book is a perfect example of how widely misused they are even by the clergy. First of all, I will admit that illustrations do have their place in helping one to understand a difficult concept. However, illustrations are not scripture; nor do they carry the weight or force of scripture. Unfortunately, Mr. Silk relies on this illustration to be one of, if not the primary, source(s) of evidence for his premise. Although Mr. Silk draws some debatable conclusions from this illustration, it really doesn't amount to a hill of beans because he relies on the illustration, not scripture, as proof for his point.

So let's get back to what scriptural support Mr. Silk does use -- I John 4:18. On page 54 of his book Mr. Silk defines the passage by saying, "It means that all the fear leaves your life when love comes in. There is no fear of punishment in love!"

The Greek word translated as "fear" in this passage is phobos, and it means alarm or fright according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Additionally, there are several other closely related words such as phobeo. However, just like many English words, context is important to defining the Greek phobos and its derivatives. Perhaps that is why I Corinthians 2:12-13 gives the following instruction:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Now, while I concede that I John 4:18 certainly makes a profound theological point regarding the Christian's relationship to his Savior, I am not convinced that it is a universal truth applicable to the parent-child relationship. If, as Mr. Silk puts it, "...fear leaves your life when love comes in," then how does he explain the following "problem" texts to name just a few of the many examples available:

"And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word." -- Matthew 28:8

"And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day." -- Luke 5:26

"There is no fear of God before their eyes." -- Romans 3:18

"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." -- Romans 13:7

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God....For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter....And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. -- II Corinthians 7:1,11,15

"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." -- Ephesians 5:21

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." -- Philippians 2:12

"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." -- I Timothy 5:20

"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:" -- I Peter 1:17

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" -- I Peter 3:15

In a word, he doesn't. Frankly, I found this aspect of the book rather alarming coming from a man who identifies himself as a pastor. Perhaps I shouldn't be shocked, but this was a scripturally shallow, if not outright erroneous, book written to scripturally shallow readers. The real tragedy is that Mr. Silk's book is only one of many such "wishy-washy" publications readily received by many of today's Christians and "pseudo-Christians" alike.

Even though Mr. Silk fails to prove his case, his book does have some merits that may make it worth reading. For instance, he does bring home the point that parenting and bullying often resemble each other a little too closely for comfort in the American fundamentalist paradigm. Also, he poses some very good questions about what one's goals should be in parenting one's children. But perhaps the most redeeming feature of the book are the examples he cites with his children. The stories reveal what correction can look like sans spanking.

So perhaps unwittingly Mr. Silk has indeed inspired me with Loving Our Kids on Purpose. Although I am not ready to remove spanking from my parenting toolbox, I am compelled to try other tools first. Even more significantly, Mr. Silk has prompted me to reassess my parenting goals and to utilize discipline in accordance with these goals. Finally, he has encouraged me to use creativity in parenting instead of solely relying on a single method of correction.

The Savage adds: If you want a book review that actually tells you what the book says ;-), try this review on Amazon.

Parenting programs or Jesus?

I like this concept of abandoning "programs" and following Jesus moment by moment. Isn't that what the Christian life is supposed to be about? And no, MU is not me, although there are similarities between her story and my experiences parenting thus far...


What We Learned: Follow Jesus, Not Methods
by M. U.

I read Babywise while pregnant with my first son. At that time, I was a proud, over-achieving, controlling, perfectionist of a mother who was thrilled that I had stumbled upon the "perfect" and "godly" parenting method. I felt that by having control over my baby's schedule, I was setting them up for a solid relationship with Jesus Christ because they would naturally bow to authority.

Everything went according to plan with my son. He was on the schedule and sleeping through the night at nine weeks. I glowed beneath the array of praise we received for our contented child. I was constantly asked for advice from other new moms and I encouraged them to do just as I had done.

But then I blinked, and we had three out-of-control toddlers. What happened? All three had been raised on the schedule, and although each child looked skinnier (with my third being sickly) and more ravenous when foods were introduced, they seemed pretty happy.

I had chosen a method instead of Jesus. My children were not my treasure but something to be managed and controlled. They didn't bring joy but stress, and they only pleased me so they could avoid punishment, not because they delighted in me.

Here's where I am today: I've repented out loud to Jesus, to my husband, and to my children. For me personally, I like the concept of scheduling, as long as there are plenty of feedings in there when baby is hungry - not just once every rotation if that's not enough. There are other little things I can still use from their material, but it is never wise to follow someone who says, "This is the God's way" unless they are quoting Scripture. I also have decided not to cling to another parenting method (i.e. attachment parenting) but instead to live in communion with my Lord Jesus and seek him on each decision.

Now, as I love Jesus more and more, I love my children more and more, and our family is beginning to see a reversal of some of the negative effects of my sins of legalism, frustration, and control.

I believe there is room for many different styles of parenting within our culture and throughout all cultures in history. We are to follow Jesus, not methods. Jesus is life. Everything else suffocates life.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Well that's annoying.......

LOL. How's that for a subject line??

So we took New Year's Day to tool around town, hit the mall for 50% off 2010 calendars, grab a puzzle board, get a new name plate engraved for a desk clock (returned/re-gifted from my dad-to whom we gave it 10 years ago), get a flash drive & bigger SD card for the camera, pick to the state car for hubby's upcoming week in Columbia, etc. We left the house at, oh I dunno, maybe 2pm?? Had our "traditional" Chinese dinner for the New Year. Got home around 8:30pm. Kids were in bed by 9pm--woot--tired out from skipping naps and wandering all over the mall this afternoon.

BUT we couldn't get the desk clock done b/c the gal was afraid she'd ruin it trying to get the old plate off, so WE have to get the old one off then go back for a new one; AND the camera (and a separate card reader) will not take the new SDHC card.... because it's high-density I suppose; AND the guy overcharged me by like 4 bucks for the puzzle mat... how a less than $18 item rings for $23+ with only 6% sales tax... (you do the math); AND because the direct deposit isn't completely set up yet, if I want hubby's check for the last half of December before Monday the 11th, I have to go pick it up ('cause he'll be in Columbia all week). So....

Yeah, that's just freaking annoying, LOL. At least the kids will be happy that they get to go back to that "play place" in the mall... (they have a random spot for kids set up... of course I can't just leave them there while I run all the returns/haggling)... :-\ This should be fun.

And I do NOT want to be in the shoes of the Radio Shack guy who tries to tell me I can't return the memory card because the packaging has been opened & because they only do exchanges if it's defective. Nope, don't want to be in his shoes....... *evil laugh*