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Sunday, July 8, 2007

I don't want to be a bully anymore (and other rambling)

Okay, so my wife is a great source of inspiration that draws me outside of myself. This is why she is my dearling. I should probably tell that story so that all of you can come to know a hidden gem of a story; it’s a tale of love, faith and how the two work together. Anyway, off to my current point of inspiration, discipline and children.

We went out to eat last night and got on the subject of our tempers, how kids react to us, and how early they need to be educated. My wife is currently reading a book entitled, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Dr. Ray and Dorothy Moore. The Moore’s are advocates of a late start to formal education. They also talk about how the first ten to eleven years are extremely important for a child.

They talk about how a child’s values are formed in the first ten to eleven years and their full understandings of things come to the front and are cemented about the age of eleven. In other words, a child may not fully comprehend obedience to mother and father until about that age and their core values are basically set about that time. Up until the age of eleven the location the child spends time is what sets their values and social behaviors. I keep returning to the question of who is going to teach my children their values and how to behave. Do I want a bunch of eight year olds who watch Pokemon and go to sleep listening to their parents watch Sex in the City and The Sopranos, teaching my kids how to act? Do I want eight year olds I know little about expressing values I know nothing about to my kids?

These are the fears that I struggle with. I also don’t want to feel like I am condemning the lifestyle I was raised in or say the other families that aren’t just like me are wrong. I just feel, after prayer and meditation, that I have a much higher and harder tasks than prior generations in my family tree (technology, enough said for now, that is another oddity of a rant) have had in the task of parenting. Also, as someone who works in emergency services I have a slightly skewed reality of the world as I see more of the bad that happens. I just feel that I have to protect my daughters; I want the best for them in this world.

Anyway, as to discipline, I feel that (and I am guilty of this as well) most of what we do with discipline isn’t a good model of God. Personally I have struggled with not working on promoting good behavior enough. Instead, I have often looked at punishment as a way of promoting good behavior and have tried to punish my children into behaving correctly. In reality, punishment is rendering a debt for a transgression that has occurred. We should be giving small aids, gifts of ourselves (Grace), to help our children grow in virtue and discipline. Instead of trying to BULLY my child into behavior through increasing punishments (however, JUST punishment are very important) I need to punish them for transgressions and give them part of myself, working with, directing or rewarding them to help move them in the direction of behaving and doing chores with a proper attitude. I need to give more of myself, exhibit more of Christ’s love to them.

As a parent I shouldn't try to bully my child into behaving.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

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