Friday, June 17, 2011

Reality and Parenting.

FANTASTIC excerpt on child rearing (!) taken from


There are already scores of books on parenting, many of them quite good. I’ve read several of them and have learned much. I really do believe in gospel-powered parenting and shepherding my child’s heart. I want conversations like this:

Me: What’s the matter son?
Child: I want that toy and he won’t give it to me!
Me: Why do you want the toy?
Child: Because it will be fun to play with.
Me: Do you think heis having fun playing with the toy right now?
Child: Yes.
Me: Would it make him sad to take the toy away?
Child: I guess so.
Me: And do you like to make your brother sad?
Child: No.
Me: You know, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means loving your brother the way he would want to be loved. Since Jesus loves us so much, we have every reason to love others–even your brother. Would you like to love him by letting him play with the toy for awhile?
Child: Yes I would daddy.
I try that. Really I do. But here’s what actually happens:

Me: What’s the matter son?
Child: I want that toy and he won’t give it to me!

Me: Why do you want the toy?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What’s going on in your heart when you desire that toy?

Child: I don’t know.
Me: Think about it son. Use your brain. Don’t you know something?
Child: I guess I just want the toy.
Me: Obviously. But why?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Fine. [Mental note: abandon "why" questions and skip straight to leading questions.] Do you think he is having fun playing with the toy right now?
Child: No.
Me: Really?! He’s not having fun? Then why does he want that toy in the first place?
Child: Because he’s mean.
Me: Have you ever considered that maybe you are being mean by trying to rip the toy from his quivering little hands?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: What do you know?
Child: I don’t know!
Me: Nevermind. [I wonder how my brilliant child can know absolutely nothing at this moment.] Well, I think taking the toy from him will make your brother sad. Do you like to make him sad?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: [Audible sigh.]
Child: He makes me sad all the time!
Me: Well, I’m getting sad right now with your attitude! [Pause, think, what would Paul Tripp do? Thinking . . . .thinking . . . .man, I can't stop thinking of that mustache. This isn't working. Let's just go right to the Jesus part.] You know, Jesus wants us to love each other.
Child: I don’t know.
Me: I didn’t ask you a question!
Child: [Pause.] Can I have some fruit snacks?
Me: No, you can’t have fruit snacks. We are talking about the gospel. Jesus loves us and died for us. He wants you to love your brother too.
Child: So?
Me: So give him the toy back!

Then I lunge for the toy and the child runs away. I tell him to come back here this instant and threaten to throw the toy in the trash. I recommit myself to turning down speaking engagements on parenting.

Oh, and I found a new book to read!!! I can't wait to check this one out:

Here's another one I can't wait to get my hands on:


Stephanie said...

Oh my word!! This is my house! I have had to chuckle when I read these "experts" giving their scripts for how a "shepherding" or "godly" conversation should go, which usually is 3 or 4 back and forth questions with the child suddenly seeing your wisdom and saying, "Oh OK mom!" The scripts somehow don't take into account children who won't give in or run off screaming or don't answer the questions "correctly." LOL I have given up on formulas and just seek to let God lead me with each individual child...They are all so different!

Teri said...

Hi - I came along your blog thru the Recovering Grace site. I'm a former ATI mom (just for a few years) but a longer member of an abusive church (which we just left 1 year ago). You referenced a great book by Jeff van Vonderen - he is also the co-author of "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" Little did we know that we jumped from the frying pan of ATI into the fire of an abusive church in NE Ohio. I do think that the teachings of ATI/IBLP primed us for membership in that church - the lack of grace and abundance of formulas for looking the part. I think this is a caution that some should be aware of as they leave ATI - other traps are out there!
Thanks for your comments - I am enjoying your blog!