Friday, May 20, 2011

Charlie the Crab

OK, his name might not have been Charlie...but...here's his story...

We showed up on the beach one day to go play and there was a ginormous crab just hanging out down by the shoreline. We took pics of him. We messed with him a little. We marveled at how he reacted with us and in some cases tried to scare us off. He was so cute!!! But, I was concerned for his "safety" being exposed out on the middle of the huge beach so we dug a little hole for him for him to sorta' "hide" in.

After we had our initial "interaction" with him, both I and my oldest daughter kept just checking on him. Looking back at him. Keeping a wary eye out for birds. On more than one occasion we said things like, "I hope no birds eat our crab." And, that struck me as significant...

"Our crab"

What made this crab...one among thousands "our crab?"

It was the fact that we'd met him...interacted with him..."cared" for him...and had a limited sort of "relationship" with him because of it. He went from being "a" crab to being "our" crab.

I thought, how well it would do the church to get more involved with people...interact with them..."care" for them...so that the world becomes "our" world and not "the" world.

Jesus said to Peter, "Feed my sheep"...
Feeding is a way of caring.

What if we listened to Jesus and spent our time, instead of <cough> blogging about stuff...playing on facebook...and "preaching" at the world with our bumperstickers, t-shirts and crafty status updates...and instead went next door and said to the widow lady living there, "Is there anything I can do for you today?"

And, Charlie? Whatever happened to him?

Finally, we grabbed him in a bucket and took him back up to where all the crab hide-outs seem to be and we let him go up there so he could find his hole again.

(Actual photo: not an actor)

Cages

Romans 1…tells us we can see the truth about God thru the Creation…I just can't say that enough and I see it every day...

I was just watching something on Animal Planet about tigers kept in small cages…the tigers were suffering from psychological issues because of it. They said that any time you keep a wild animal in a cage…(restrict its freedom)…and deprive it of the ability to fulfill it's natural desires that it will end up having all kinds of mental problems that show themselves in aggressive behaviors and the animal engaging in repetitive behaviors…

I was just thinking that yeah, I knew this already. We all know this. You chain up a dog even…and it will become aggressive. Caged animals will pace. We just know this stuff.

Parents would do well to notice how this truth applies to their own lives...to their households. What we've come to accept as "normal" behavior in toddlers and teens…the "terrible twos" and "teenage rebellion"…these are not "normal" phases of life. These are normal reactions to being "caged"…these are common things in our culture…but they are not "normal healthy" development…they are "normal reactions" to being "caged".

How do human parents "cage" their kids?

There are 4 styles of parenting, basically…

(Underlined parts are discussed at the end...and are a different topic)

Indulgent - Indulgent parenting, also called permissive, nondirective or lenient, is characterized as having few behavioral expectations for the child. Indulgent parenting is a style of parenting in which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or controls on them.

Neglectful - Neglectful parenting is also called uninvolved, detached, dismissive or hands-off. The parents are low in warmth and control, are generally not involved in their child's life, are disengaged, undemanding, low in responsiveness, and do not set limits. Neglectful parenting can also mean dismissing the children's emotions and opinions. Parents are emotionally unsupportive of their children, but will still provide their basic needs.

Authoritative - Authoritative parenting, also called 'assertive democratic' or 'balanced' parenting, is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity. Authoritative parents can understand their children’s feelings and teach them how to regulate them. They often help them to find appropriate outlets to solve problems. Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions. Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturant toward the child. Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning.

Authoritarian - Authoritarian parenting, also called strict, is characterized by high expectations of conformity and compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing little open dialogue between parent and child. Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their directions and to respect their work and effort. Authoritarian parents expect much of their child but generally do not explain the reasoning for the rules or boundaries. Authoritarian parents are less responsive to their children’s needs, and are more likely to spank a child rather than discuss the problem.

Authoritarian parents often have "well-behaved" kids when those kids are young…but then once those kids are too big to "control" with threats of spanking…not only are all of the kids true feelings and frustrations finally able to show thru…but now they also have the psychological damage and anger from being "caged" their whole life that they have to now deal with...

Parents need to see the effects of their parenting for what they are and stop dismissing things as "normal" behavior. If your toddler is ANGRY there is something you're doing wrong. If your toddler engages in "repetitive behavior"...something is wrong. And, this doesn't mean "you suck" as a parent...it's OK...we all have done things wrong...but it's not OK if you see signs and don't do something about it.

We need to see the truth in nature about what we're doing as parents if we're ever to have a peaceful world…God left us all the clues we need to see the truth. It's all around us every day everywhere we go…so much so that we are without excuse for not seeing it…

Romans 1:28-21
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For 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.

(Underlined parts are another topic...for anyone who follows "Babywise" you might note that Gary Ezzo's style of parenting would be a mixture of "Authoritarian" and "Neglectful". Look again at the underlined parts and think about it...)





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