This is is obviously not about Holidays...
I was just listening to Jim Wallis, on "Speaking of Faith" portray his parents urgency for him to be saved at an early age of 6. He retold the story of an evangelist coming to tell him and other children that if Jesus returned their parents would go to Heaven while the children, who have not repeated the "sinner's prayer," will go to Hell.
Where is the God of love (incidentally Wallis ' mother instilled that belief of God) in a story of children burning in Hell?
My wife and I are struggling to learn how to discipline our children without anger and prideful, egotistic demands of obedience. I cannot believe God reacts to us and our children with those emotions and legalities...
I want my children to love, not fear and mistrust.
posted by brett at 11:21:00 AM |


At December 3, 2007 at 6:26 PM, Blogger LietoFine

Some of the things that I've been trying to do with my child:
1) Decide on the things that are really important. Don't make an issue of the things that aren't important.
2) Be willing to apologize to your children if you were harsh. It's not their fault that you got upset.
3) Say "yes" as much as possible - including being willing to sit and play or hold them when they ask.
4) Think about the motives for what your child is doing. Don't just "punish" because you feel they're doing something wrong.

Those are the major things I can think of right now. I have an 18 month old, so maybe as he gets older I'll think of more. I also liked the other previous poster who talked about HALT - be sure determine if they're Hungry, Angry, Lonley or Tired. It's always better to deal with the problem and not the symptom.

Cristi :]


At December 3, 2007 at 8:23 PM, Blogger Emily

I too am a parent who cares about conveying the unconditional love of God to my (almost two) daughter, and know that I have a lot to learn. From the time she was an infant I've had a strong sense that my caring gives her a first experience of God. What a responsibility!

I am clueless, however, as to why asking for "obedience" necessarily means making prideful, egoistic demands on our children. Our household's only "rule" is that she obeys Mommy and Daddy the first time she's told. Why? Because we love her desperately.

My best guess is that the idea of this post is that motivating by negative consequence does not reflect the God we know. If we read our Bibles, however, we are struck with some of the imagery of God's punishment--how do we make sense of it?

The OT theologian Terence Fretheim is instructive on this point--the God of the Bible (particularly the OT) creates for freedom and relationship. He is involved in judgment, but as the grieving spouse or parent saddened by the need to keep evil in check. Some of his categories might be helpful. . .

I'd be interested to hear more about just what exactly you're concerned about. I can certainly say that I've messed up the discipline thing a time or two but still think it's appropriate to expect obedience in a loving, trust-building way.


At December 4, 2007 at 7:42 AM, Anonymous Jenn

My husband and I are trying to find a different way to relate to our children, as well, Brett. We have found "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel to be a breath of fresh air. He is "out of the box" in some areas compared to other Christian parenting books that we've read but we have really embraced what he has to say. It is biblically sound and just makes good sense. It's also been quite freeing to parent with grace and venture away from a legalistic way of relating to our children.


At December 4, 2007 at 4:29 PM, Blogger john alan turner

This is especially difficult during the Christmas season -- when lyrics are blaring everywhere about a man who "Knows if you've been bad or good" and promises to give good things or bad things accordingly!

It's all too easy to take that approach with our kids -- to let them think that they'd better be good in order to gain our approval. I know lots of people whose growing up experience was based on the assumption that they would be loved if they behaved properly.

Somehow we must love our children unconditionally -- refusing to show our displeasure by being distant and making them feel as badly as possible.

It's okay to express sorrow and even anger when something wrong is done, but that must never be expressed in a way that violates our call to love our children the way God loves us.


At December 12, 2007 at 10:05 AM, Blogger brett

lietofine - thank you...those are some great ideas/reminders.

emily - the quest for obediance is not the problem, but when it is done in a way to satisfy my ego or just as playing a useful card because I am too wrapped up in my own stuff to deal with something appropriately is a problem.
As far as motivating by fear, what was Jesus' greatest acts representative of?

"but still think it's appropriate to expect obedience in a loving, trust-building way."
Awesome! That's partially what I am getting at.

jenn - We will check that out, Thanks! As I think on my life, grace is far heavier than legalism, I hope to relate that to my kids as well.

john - Cool, thank you. I can see so much wisdom in delayed gratification for our kids and us as parents in regards to discipline.

as my wife and I were talking about a book we are reading "Positive Time Out" we both reflected on how the way we were disciplined shaped so much of our everyday lives. That is somewhat scary and helpful.