Thursday, March 17, 2011

How we teach morality

I know that I should work on using less words…but…for someone who is truly interested in this it won’t matter…and those who aren’t truly interested…it won’t matter either… But, believe it or not I actually feel like I am being brief and that I could go on and on and on and expand on everything!!! :)

Yesterday we went for the first time to an ice skating rink…and there were parents there who clearly loved skating (because they skated as naturally as I walk) helping toddlers in teensie tiny skates to learn to skate. I thought about how young parents will begin to indoctrinate or introduce their children to the things they value and love…and I thought about “how” they do it. When you have kids…there are countless things you need to teach them, really.

You teach your children to talk, walk, write, sing, play, work, cook, hunt, drive…all kinds of things!

How do we teach them all this stuff?

Talking…
We begin by believing that our child will learn to speak…
We talk to them a lot…and in the beginning we will even babble at them at times…
We repeat things over and over…
We’re careful what we say in front of them because we know they’ll imitate it…
We laugh at and with them as they begin to talk and really say some funny things!
Experiencing a baby learning to talk is a beautiful thing!

Walking…
We believe our child will walk…
We first start by cheering them on when they can roll over!
We then cheer them on when they can crawl. We crawl with them…
When they’re still too weak to walk we will hold them up (bear all their weight) and let them just kick their legs and try to walk…
We hold them as long as they need us to…
We run to help them when they fall…and we encourage them that they did good ’cause they tried and encourage them to keep trying!
Experiencing a baby learning to walk is something you bring your camera out for…it is a beautiful exciting thing!

Writing…
We believe our child will learn to write…
In the beginning with my kids I get them to hold the pen and I will hold and guide their hand to show them how to make the letters…
I print out sheets of writing that’s light gray so they can trace it to learn how to do it well…
I get them to practice.
When they make errors…like writing “WOW” for “Mom”…we smile and enjoy it!
I have some of those papers scanned into the computer to keep forever because the fact that my name is currently “WOW” is a beautiful thing!

Skating…
We picture our child winning the gold medal in the Olympics! :)
The parents I saw put the skates on their children and held them up the whole time on the ice…
Just like learning to walk except a little colder…
Seeing your child learning to do something you love is a fun and beautiful thing!

BASICALLY…you can see a consistency in these examples that the way to teach something to a child is to:

First believe that your child has it in them to learn what they have to learn…
Model what you want to teach with repetition and consistency…
Support the child completely in the beginning until they get to the point where they are capable of doing the skill on their own…and never leave their side…
When they mess up you go to their aid, and encourage them to try again.
When they fall or mess up you are sad for them and do your best to fix their owe…and sometimes you totally laugh and love and want to always remember their errors and you scan in the picture of “Wow”. The process of learning is a fun and beautiful experience!

And, pretty much kids raised with these techniques learn to walk, talk, write, read, play, hunt, drive, etc…Imagine!

We teach everything we teach our children with these techniques…except…morality.

The most important of all skills we seem to have a whole other approach to it that is not…beautiful…
No. With morality. We do something entirely differently…and imagine, not all humans seem to grow up to become happy well-adjusted moral people…hmmm…

With morality…(Christian) parents will teach their kids this way:

Start off with believing the worst in their children and expect their children to fail; that their child is ALREADY a sinner and that everything their child wants to do is to be naughty.

They often model the opposite of what they want their children to learn…(they will ignore their child when they cry though they do not want their children to grow up and ignore others who cry out to them, they will spend too much time on Facebook or writing blog posts while the children run wild ;), they will tell their children to do something and then not follow through like “we’re leaving in 3 minutes” and 20 minutes later they haven’t left, and they will model for their child how to force someone smaller and weaker than them to do what they want regardless of what the smaller weaker person wants, they will force their children to address people as “ma’am” and “sir” and “miss” etc…to treat the child “respect” yet do not respect the child…and actually I will need a whole separate posting to point out what all certain things we do actually teach our kids…)

They will “let go” of the kids way too soon…even as early as in the crib…thinking they are teaching the child “independence”…

And, when the child “draws outside the lines”, or “speaks a wrong word”, or “falls down when taking a step” by behaving in a naughty way…the parents will threaten the child, punish the child, or hurt the child (spank)…

They will also see, and accuse other parents who do not use these techniques to be doing “nothing” to teach their kids anything (and call it “permissive parenting”)

Don’t ya find that…interesting?

Imagine using the same techniques preached for teaching a child moral behavior to teach them to talk, walk, or write…

Imagine threatening or scolding the child when they say, “Ma-ma” instead of “Mom”…

Imagine punishing the child because they wrote “wow” instead of “mom”…

Imagine spanking a toddler because they took a step and fell down…

Imagine a parent teaching their child to ice skate and spanking the child every time they fell on the ice…

It would be ridiculous! 

I’m a homeschooling mom…and if you knew that I would spank my kids for getting wrong answers on their papers or you saw me training my baby to walk and saw me spanking them every time they fell…you’d likely call the Child Welfare people on me…

“…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
Romans 1…always…


The obviousness of the physical examples of this…tells you the truth…about the spiritual…

I see examples of the wrongness of “spanking” and the parenting “style” that goes along with that everywhere…and would really challenge anyone who disagrees to begin to look at the world around…look at nature…and find beautiful examples of “spanking” in nature and how it has beautiful results. If “spanking” were how to “raise kids God’s way” there would be examples of it in nature and it would be beautiful…

Everyone knows that if you were to spank a kid every time they made a mistake when learning to do anything…writing, talking, playing an instrument, playing a sport, ANYTHING…if when they made a mistake they were intentionally hurt for it, you realize what it would do to that whole learning process and their love for learning whatever it is…

Intentionally causing pain to a child who makes an error in judgment is not helping them to grow to love moral behavior…or to love the Author of morality…and it is not going to encourage them to keep trying…because in many cases they WERE trying. They were trying to reason and their reason was most likely not, “Because I want to please satan today!” No! Even naughty or rebellious behavior has a reason behind it and the reason should be your focus…not the behavior! You can change the behavior, sure! But, the reason is still in there! It’s just masked now! Covered! Hidden!

I have seen it in friends and experienced it in myself where a harsh punishment occurs and there had been a thought process going on…however immature it was…but it was there…a spiritual form of saying “socko milk babul” (one of my kids words for chocolate milk bottle)…and if the child actually had a reasoning process going on that still resulted in them getting intentionally hurt by their parents…if their reasoning led them to be in pain…the only thing the pain will deter them from is reasoning. They will cease to try to “reason” on their own and will focus on making their behavior pleasing to the one who hurts them…

Moral behavior requires the ability to reason.

Spanking your kid to teach them moral behavior does the exact opposite to them.

The truth is on your heart…
The truth is in the Bible…
The truth is in nature…


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