Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy Self-Test about "the use of the Biblical rod"

You know, the discussions about "spanking" can go round and round forever. People can play "battle of the verses" and can reason their side all day about "how" to "use the rod" that's spoken of in the Bible. Well, there is actually a really simple "test" in the Bible to reveal to each individual whether or not they are exercising the "use of the rod" correctly or not.

It's very simple: If you use an actual "rod" of some sort...take that "rod"...and put it before your child (or if the rod has a special place it hangs on the wall or something like it did in my home just take the child over before it). Ask your child how that object makes them FEEEEEL. Simple. Just ask them and listen to their answer. Don't prod them or lead them just try to get them to give you their honest answer...and then compare their response to Psalm 23...

David said: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Your rod and your staff they comfort me."

Comfort. Does the way you use the rod in your home evoke the feelings of "comfort" in your child? If not, then something needs to be refined or adjusted in the way you use it until your child can answer that question that way. And, this is the evidence from within your own family, personal...not anyone else telling you what to do. Jesus said we'd know things by their fruits, and the fruits of God's rod produced "comfort" in likewise it should produce the same in our children and then we'll know that we're using the rod the way God wants us to.

My opinion on this has a specific "mental picture". I have driven many miles to many "unknown" destinations in my life...(using a paper map for most of those years, eww!) I've literally made wrong turns and ended up driving thru some scary neighborhoods. I've also lived in Guatemala where I have seen people driving around with armed body guards on the backs of their trucks.

So, I see David in Psalm 23 saying that, "Though I drive thru the scariest parts of the scariest towns, I will fear no bad guys! Your ability to protect me and your guidance they comfort me!"

In the ancient times...Shepherds carried a staff...which they used for guiding sheep.

God is The Good Shepherd...His "staff" makes God the ultimate GPS in life.

In the ancient times...Shepherds carried a rod with spikes on the end...which they used for fighting off predators...(modern shepherds use guns).

God is The Good Shepherd...His "rod" makes Him one mighty powerful body guard on the back of our truck to protect us from bad guys.

Ancient shepherd's rod. 
Nothing at all like a spatula, open hand, switch, paddle or wooden spoon.
Clearly not for hitting sheep. 
Clearly capable of bringing comfort to one being protected by it.

Look at it this way, there are two options: 

If you were driving thru a scary part of a strange town with an angry mob chasing you trying to kill you (the valley of the shadow of death)...would you find it very "comforting" if whenever you took a wrong turn your GPS would sometimes cause an electrical current to flow thru your steering wheel and give you a painful shock? This is the correct metaphor to use if the "rod" spoken of in the Bible is for striking children. And, a good question is where is God's protection here? Who is doing the protecting in this situation?

If you were driving thru a scary part of a strange town with an angry mob chasing you trying to kill you (the valley of the shadow of death)...would you find it very "comforting" if whenever you took a wrong turn the GPS would consistently, faithfully, and patiently say, "Recalculating" and tell you which way to keep going? And, would it be "comforting" if meanwhile, a big buff body guard with a big buff gun was riding on the back of your truck ever vigilant to make sure no bad guys got near ya? This is the correct metaphor to use if the "rod" spoken of in the Bible is for striking predators.

It's really so simple.
It's really so important.

However we use "the rod" in our homes...that is how our children will believe God guides them. And, if God's "rod" is the first one that hurts you whenever you take a wrong turn, I'd say that it would create a world where there is no distinction between bad guys and God because we would fear both of them. And, how sad that has to make God...

If your child is "afraid" of your might want to read this... 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Body as God's Communication Connection

(This is something I wrote a while ago and am just moving it over to here to have all of this stuff "in one place")

A practical way that the doctrine of "Original Sin" really goes against God and sets us up for relationship struggles and disease...

If you park a car on your foot, God has designed your body that you will feel pain. That pain is not God punishing you for making the error of parking a car on your foot. The pain is not God putting pain on you to teach you a lesson. The pain is a natural physical protective system that God has built into us to protect us. If you are responsive to the pain in your foot you will remove the car and save yourself further pain and damage and possible crippling. If you are not sensitive to the pain, or take drugs to make the pain go away, you will end up crushing your foot, ruining your foot, making yourself incapable of walking, or ending up with some sort of infection from the broken bones and dying.

SO…when you do something like start looking at porn on the internet. God has also set up a natural system to alert you to this danger. You get sick. It is not God punishing you for the sin of looking at porn, nor is it God "putting that sickness on you" to teach you a lesson. It is a natural system designed to protect us by warning us that there is a spiritual car on our spiritual foot and that if we don't remove it, we could suffer great consequences. If we focus on making the "disease" go away, so we can feel better, we are not supposed to fear that which can destroy our body but that which can send us to hell, and so if we make the pain go away, we can persist in our sin and can end up "in hell"...

God has designed our bodies to send us messages for our good when anything attacks us or threatens our well-being.

Now, if you look at the doctrine of "Original Sin"…that doctrine says that our flesh yearns for sin…tends toward sin… What is that REALLY telling us?

For one thing, for example, if I believe that "you" are a liar that you just lie lie lie all the time; I'm not going to believe a word you say. And, so, if I believe my body wants to sin, desires to sin, lives to sin, loves to sin, and is naturally sinful...because it came firing into this world as one big sin-seeking missile...I'm not going to trust the messages my body sends me.

And, if I believe that sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross...that sin is God's enemy... what is that going to teach me about "me" if I believe my body just comes out of the womb yearning for and tending toward sin and that sin flows in my veins?? How will that effect how I treat "me"? How I view "me" and how I love "myself"? Remember that Jesus said the 2nd greatest commandment was to love your neighbor "as you love yourself". How in the world can I love the world then if I see myself as a big pile of sin that nailed Jesus to the cross?

And, what am I going to believe about what my body tries to tell me? What am I going to think of mySELF if my body is God's enemy? What am I going to think of mySELF if my body is MY enemy? How is one to separate the sin that is "in me" from "me"? How am I to "hate the sin" and yet love myself? How am I ever to trust myself when sometimes my body tells me to do things that feel good…things that are actually good…how am I to trust that if it feels good it's OK to do it if I think that my body craves sin?

I believe that believing that my body is born yearning for sin that it will make God a liar because God says that the truth is on my heart. God says that He's put eternity on my heart. God has constructed my body to be able to warn me when I enter into sin and if I accuse my body of being "sinful" I am making God a liar and I have cut off one major form of communication between me n' God…

Not trusting the signals our own bodies give us will lead women to ignore their "instincts" and allow their baby to cry themselves to sleep even though everything about them is screaming to pick up that baby. A lady will outside her baby's closed bedroom door listening to that baby cry its tiny heart out and she won't go to it because someone taught her not to and she will tell herself not to "give in to her flesh". She sees her flesh as "weak" and "sinful" and desiring only to pleasure itself and so the communication that God is sending that woman thru the body He created her with will go ignored...and both she and the baby will suffer for it. 

Not trusting the signals our own bodies give us will lead well-meaning parents to hit their kids "in love". Though every time they walk away from having spanked their child they feel "icky" inside and feel like they need to "justify" their actions...they will continue to do what their body is signaling to them is wrong because they believe that their child was "born sinful" and has to have that sin controlled...and they will believe that they too must not "give in to their flesh" and NOT whack their kid. 

Most Christians would see total revolution in their way of seeing the world and seeing God if they were to simply "if it doesn't feel good...don't do it!" Our bodies alert to us when we're entering into sin. When we even THINK about sinning we feel "icky". If only we were to listen to our bodies we would avoid so much ill in society. 

Just the simple act of ignoring the communication of our bodies telling us to pick up that screaming baby...have ramifications into many future generations. Every baby suffers when they are ignored and there is a wide range of ways that they cope. All of the babies/children/adults express their experience of being left to cry-it-out differently, but all of them without exception suffer and ultimately it is God who suffers the most. From the one who simply struggles to trust himself, others, and the one who ends up in anti-social criminal behavior...all of the effects of that one simple thing hurt God. 

For children who are purposely hurt (by spanking) by those they love and trust the most...eventually will see that as God. When something goes wrong in their life (or satan comes and steals, kills and destroys in their life) who will get the blame for it? The one who they look up to in place of their parents now; God. Surely they have done something wrong and deserve to be punished. God gets the blame. All because the parents of that grown-child did not respond to their own body's signals that to tell them that spanking their child was wrong...

God speaks to our hearts, don't we all agree? He has that still small voice and we just "feel" it? How much of that communication is also interrupted or cut off because we do not know how to hear what our bodies are saying to us?

God is the ultimate suffer-er from the sin that's caused by the belief that our bodies are born sinful. :(

Some points to remember if you investigate this:
- If you look into it do not use an NIV or many of the other modern translations. There is a very popular verse in the NIV (Psalm 51:5) which in the original text (as well as in the NASB and the KJV and others) says, "in sin did my mother conceive me." David's mother was not the mother of his 12 other brothers. The NIV has it translated, "I was sinful from the time my mother conceived me"...This is a complete twisting of the original text.
- The ancient and modern Jews did not and do not believe babies are born sinful...they believe we become accountable for our sin at age 13-14. They "wrote the Bible". They would not have put a teaching of "sinful from birth" in their writings as they did not believe that.
- Jesus reached an age of accountability... Isaiah 7:14-16
- Sin is something you do in your heart...not with your body...paralyzed people can sin...even have sexual sin...because it is in the mind/heart not your body which you sin with.
- You must have the ability to reason and choose to sin...because sin is a choice to do what you know is wrong or not do what you know is right.
- The truth is on your heart...and is evident in nature (Romans 1)...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"As you love yourself" 2

So much emphasis in parenting is placed on "teaching obedience" and parents will resort to and justify  just about anything to get their kids to obey. But, Jesus says the greatest commandment is TO LOVE God...and the 2nd greatest commandment is to love others as we loves ourselves. So, if we're going to talk about "training" or "raising" our children...with this in do we "train" a child to love themselves? 

Because we are instructed to "love others AS WE LOVE OURSELVES"…it would seem that loving yourSELF would be a pretty foundational "skill" we'd need to "teach" our children. And, that's not so simple. No. You can't teach a kid to love themselves by closing a door on a crying baby and leaving them to cry alone...or by handling a tough discipline problem by whacking your child. No. Teaching a child to "love" themselves is not something you can walk away from or do with force, threats, and fear.

So, how to teach our children to "love themselves"???

And, remember the list of what LOVE (or God) IS...

Love (God) is patient
Love (God) is kind
Love (God) is not jealous
Love (God) does not brag and is not arrogant
Love (God) does not act unbecomingly
Love (God) does not seek its own
Love (God) is not provoked
Love (God) does not take into account a wrong suffered
Love (God) does not rejoice in unrighteousness
Love (God) rejoices with the truth
Love (God) bears all things
Love (God) believes all things
Love (God) hopes all things
Love (God) endures all things.
Love (God) never fails

So, if we teach by example...we teach our kids to be patient by being patient with them. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We teach them to not be jealous by making them so secure in who they are that they won't find things threatening and become jealous. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We make them not be arrogant or brag by serving and treating them with love so that they will not want to have better things than others or feel a need to prove their own worth because they have no doubt in how much they are worth. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We teach them to "not seek their own" by always serving them and teaching them by example that their needs are fulfilled by a source outside themselves. And, thru our example that the greatest joy in life is to serve others. If we close them up in a room alone, threaten them or strike them they will learn that they are the only one who is trustworthy and safe...the only person they can count on and that if they don't look out for #1 no one else will.

We teach them to not take wrongs into account by always listening to them and helping them always to resolve their feelings. We teach them not to take wrongs into account by being humble and apologizing to them when we fail. By monitoring our own behavior in the way we treat them and making sure to right the wrongs we do to them, we teach them how to make things right when relationships have trouble. We teach them to "not let the sun go down on their anger" rather than burying feelings alive which never die...and keeping an account of all the wrongs they've suffered. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We teach them to rejoice in the truth when we treat them with respect, sensitivity, and empathy and always respond to them according to their cues. When we hear their cries as a newborn, or later their complaints when they're older and can talk...when we listen to what's going on and we investigate their cries and do our best to soothe them and lead them to resolution of their troubles we show them that they matter which teaches them to rejoice in the truth. When we do not harshly scold and punish them when they err...when we look at the wrong they've done and gently guide them toward the truth we teach them that exposing "lies" is a reason to rejoice because it leads to the truth! We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We teach them to "bear all things" with our own attitudes toward them. When we always joyfully care for them no matter what the circumstance...when we do not whine and complain about needing time away from them we teach them how to bear all things. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

We teach them to believe, hope, and love and that love never fails by never leaving them all alone to cry until they give up all belief and hope that anyone will answer them? By always coming to them and comforting them according to their cry will show them that love never fails. We can't do this by closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, or by threatening or striking them.

Romans 1 says that everything knowable about God is evident in the Creation...and science has proven that to NOT treat a child with empathy leads to all sorts of pathology. It is like the worst things you can do to a future adult. Children denied this empathic treatment in their first three years of life will suffer for it for the rest of their life as it does something to their brain's development that leads to social disorders, anger issues, depression, and the list goes on...Basically, science has shown us that closing them up alone in a room, putting them on a schedule, threatening and striking them does not lead to anything good in the adult...

Check yourself throughout the day as you interact with your child. How often do you resort to closing them up alone in a room? How scheduled is their life? Can they eat when they want? How often do you resort to threats when dealing with them? How often do you actually hit them to get them to do what you want? Know that none of these things, though they do result often in an "obedient" child...obedience is not the 2nd greatest commandment...and the way you are getting your child to obey will interfere with your child's future ability to follow those commandments...

Everything you do with your baby…particularly in the first year of life…is laying the foundation for them for the rest of their life. How you treat them is how they learn to love themselves and how they will ultimately love others…love God…and feel loved by God.

"The hand that rocks the cradle" shapes the minds and hearts of the next generation.

The hand that rocks the cradle truly does "rule the world"...
and if you treat your child with are allowing God to be the one to rock that cradle...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The apple don't fall far from the tree...

If you have an apple tree in your back yard...and you go out and take all the apples off of it...does it cease to be an apple tree? Or how about if you also hang oranges on the tree then...does it then become an orange tree? 

Jesus says you'll know people by their fruits.

Romans 1 says that Creation tells us the same. Genesis 1 God points out several times very clearly that fruit trees bear seeds and that you plant a seed and that is what grows. You don't plant an apple seed and have it grow a pear tree. And, this is helpful since the easiest way to identify a tree if you're not educated about trees is simply by looking at their fruit. The fruit make identifying the tree obvious.

The fruit of the Spirit…the 3rd member of the trinity…God's fruit in a person's life brings out: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

So…you add all that together that gives you a picture of what truly "Growing Kids God's Way" should look like.

If the fruit of your parenting is that your children feel love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…if your children are HAPPY...then truly the you ARE growing your kids "God's Way" because that's what the fruit says. That fruit identifies the tree you're growing.

If your children are angry…fighting…unhappy…impatient…unkind…mean…and lack self-control…this is supposed to be a sign to you. This is an indicator of what kinds of seeds you are planting in your children and the type of tree you're growing...and cutting off the fruit will not change the tree or its roots.

Some of the seeds we plant that result in the negative things are temporary. A temporary stress in your life can lead your kids to fight and be angry…so that's not what I mean. But, if your kids "are" sullen or depressed, if they seem to be drawn to dark, angry music and hang with a "bad crowd", or if they just always want to be off by themselves withdrawn from others and this is just 'how they are'…this is something that a parent should take seriously and try to do something about...but not by cutting off the fruit from that tree.

The biggest mistake I see parents make is they begin "planting seeds" in their children and everyone but them can see the fruit. Or, if they see the fruit they blame it on the kid, throw their hands in the air and say, "I just don't know what to do with them?" Worse yet, is when the parent does MORE of what led the child to display the bad fruit in the first place. "Or, they focus on taking those apples off the tree"...which is simply "deactivating God's built-in alarm".

You see it most with "authoritarian" parents who structure every part of their children's lives, often in "the name of godly parenting", will cinch down tighter on their controls as well as administering harsher punishments. (Essentially they get larger and sharper shears for trimming off those "apples" from their child's tree.)

Parents mostly seem to believe that if they can simply whack off the unwanted fruit that that will change the tree. They fail to see the obvious that God built into Creation for us to see. Romans 1, Creation tells us, the fruit simply reveals the truth about the tree...the same way a smoke detector tells you there is smoke in the room and sounds an irritating alarm. And, you can cut every apple off of that tree and it would still be an apple tree. You can hang oranges all over an apple tree and it is still…and apple tree.

So, you can control your kids "fruits" (behavior) with threats and spankings and force them to repress their "fruits" and you can even get them to "hang oranges" (engage in approved behaviors) on their trees but…changing the fruits does nothing but change the fruits.

Focusing on the fruit…on your children's behavior…misses the point. Focusing on attempting to "hang other fruit" on that tree that did not naturally grow there...that fruit will rot. And, focusing on repressing your child's fruits with punishments just like taking the battery out of a smoke detector to get rid of the irritating alarm...there is still a fire. And, where there is smoke...there is fire. And, where there is bad fruit...there is a tree with deep roots that is producing that fruit.

This is why parents marvel at how they can "raise their kids up right"…and have these "well-behaved kids" when they're little (and still being spanked) and yet when those kids become teens and young adults how they "rebel". They're not "rebelling". They're simply able to produce the fruit that is in them and has been in them the whole time…

If you want your children to produce good fruit…Creation shows us that trees produce fruit after their own kind. Therefore, you need to treat your children with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…because "the apple don't fall far from the tree"...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The means to the end...or is it all about the means?

It hit me yesterday...that I think that...I get what Ecclesiastes is all about now...

Every Christian parent will at some point in time refer to their new baby as a "blessing" but yet…if you watch their fruits…every minute of their life is all about "how to survive this newborn". How to survive and "get enough sleep" and how to "get time away from the baby" and so forth…Everything about the parent's life with the baby speaks the truth of how they see this newcomer in their life no matter what the birth announcement says: the baby is a curse.

Sure, most parents would argue that, insist that's not true, but watch them. Listen to them. When parents talk about their children or post stuff on fb…it's all about surviving their infancy until they will "sleep all night" and then how to handle the "terrible twos" and then how to get them off to school <phew> and finally have time for yourself! Then, "Oh God how to survive the teenage years". Then, finally you get that kid outta' the house at age 18! <phew!>

Parents don't enjoy their little ones as their interactions with them as little ones is all about controlling their behavior with schedules, threats and pain partly in order to retain the pleasures we are afraid of sacrificing for the child and partly because we believe we "must" do these things in order to "raise a godly child".

And, I believe that parents end up missing the true pleasure that is the "point" of parenting. And, the reason we were all created. (It's why most Christians can't even answer the question as to why God created mankind)

In Ecclesiastes…the writer who was the world's biggest wise guy…or I mean…the world's wisest man…goes on and on to tell of all the amazing, awesome, wondrous things he's done with his life…how many college degrees he has…and how much he's accomplished with his career…and yet…he concludes that it's all for nothing.

He says twice, "I know that there is nothing better than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor -- it is a the gift of God."

He also says, "So I commended for pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun."

And, he says, "Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeing life which He has given to you jeer the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun."

And, again, he says, "Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And, follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know God will bring you to judgment for all these things. So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting."

I believe if you were to take a survey of Christian parents and ask them what is their point with having kids…they would tell you something like that their point is to "raise up godly kids for Jesus" or "to train up my kids in the way they should go". It occurred to me that parents' whole point in parenting seems to be focused on the future. But, humans, although we can imagine the future and can remember the past we LIVE in the now. And, most parents do not live in the "now" with their kids…but they live out of their past experiences (how their parents raised them) and they live in the future (getting the kids to adulthood) and the "now" gets missed and even ruined.

What do I mean?

If the whole law and the prophets hang on these two things: Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and your neighbor as yourself"... That is "it". I mean...that's just "it". The "end". Like...

Imagine a parent who loves the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul…and loves their child…their neighbor…as themselves? When I am hungry…I seek food. When I am tired…I sleep. When I am lonely…I seek out friends. When I am scared…I reach out for safety…When I am sad…I seek comfort. That's how I love myself. That's how almost all people love themselves. Yet, for some reason you find it especially in Christian parenting that they feel that when their child has all these needs/desires that the best thing to do for the child is to deny them those things…or to make them wait for those things.

God IS love. Loving God and loving our kids is "it". It is the fulfillment of everything. It's the end.

But, yet, people have the wrong idea of what love is…and that has effected everything about life, including parenting. Love is all those things in 1 Corinthians...and so because of those qualities, if it is about choosing between "you and what's good for you" and my "pleasure"...yes! Love will lead me to sacrifice…but love never should lead us to hurt others…to neglect their needs…to ignore their cries.

"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered." Prov. 21:13

And, while I'm thinking of it...Tina Turner was just so wrong! "What's love got to do with it?" EVERYTHING. Love is what it's all about!

OK…so I'd wanna ask the question of parents who believe this is their whole point with their kids…you're raising and training up your kids to be godly…that sounds great…but what for? Why raise them to be godly? Sure, to "go to heaven" but…really why train them up that way? Well, if they had to think about it it would probably be, "So they can raise their kids to be godly"...and so on and so on...and that sort of totally misses the point.

When do we reach the goal of the point of parenting? When our kids turn 18? When our kids die? When do we accomplish this goal of "raising/training them up godly?" 

Loving our kids is not a "means to an end"…it IS the end. It IS the reason for having kids. TO love them…now.

Like...what I'm rambling about is...that the point of parenting is not to be "working and sacrificing" for some "future goal"...with the kids. The reason we are parents is for "right now". To enjoy our kids "right now".

"Children are a gift of the Lord...The fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127

It doesn't say children are a job...or even a mission field...or a responsibility...
It says they're a reward and a gift...

The joy of parenting is in the relationship that starts as soon as we know we're pregnant…The joy and blessing of parenting is the smell, feel, sound of your newborn…the joy and blessing for the woman is the God-designed reward system in her brain and her heart that she feels when she has physical contact with her baby…when she falls asleep next to her baby…when she awakens next to her baby…The joy is in every day in the ongoing relationship with the baby…every bit of it is a joy…and only with a few unhappy times mixed in. That's the truth.

For parenting to have turned into this "burden" that people have to be "prepared for"…is such a  sad twisting. Who should need to be "prepared to enter into a loving relationship"? Only those, maybe, who do not understand what love is. Like Tina Turner…And, look where this belief has led? How many millions of babies have been sucked alive outta' their mother's wombs because those mothers didn't feel they were "ready" to be a mother?

Modern parents…especially Christians ones…end up sacrificing all the joys on the path for some goal of getting kids to the 18 year old finish line. But, getting our kids from 0-18 is not like driving from Vancouver Island to Florida. Something to dread and be bored in and need to "survive" with distractions like books on CD and DVD's…No! The experience of going from 0-18 with our children should reflect the relationship that God has with us when we become a Christian.

It is really no wonder the church is in the state that it is in…when we have human parents feeling cursed and burdened and robbed of pleasure by their newborn babies…striving for "alone time" away from the baby. Is that how God feels about us? It does explain why so many Christians feel this strong NEED to be "in ministry". They cannot simply rest in the fact that they are God's child. They can't imagine that God simply "enjoys" them. That God simply "had them" just to enjoy them.

Human parents are always working toward training our kids to perform. To behave perfectly. To poop on the potty young and on schedule. To sleep in a place/way pleasing to the parent. To not talk back or express themselves in ways displeasing to the parent. To then perform in school and get good grades so we can go on to college and prove ourselves worthy of our parents college money and get good grades there and get a good job and provide well for our own families. It's all about "what we DO for our parents". And, so…you have Christians believing that unless they are working, sacrificing, and serving for God that they are not worthy. And, sadly, a Christian parent who believes this way about God and themselves…will then treat their own children in the same way so as to pass on this feeling/belief to the next generation…

So, they miss the joy of waking to the smell of a newborn's breath and the scroochings of their tiny little body as they awaken because they're convinced they have to "teach that baby independence for its future" somehow…They miss the incredible joy of being there with the child and hearing their little hearts figure things out…they miss working through their child's emotional development as they grow because the parent is only concerned with identifying rebellion and punishing for it to teach that child "discipline"…

It could be one reason that people often mention that they enjoy their grandkids so much more…because grandparents are focused on enjoying their grandkids and the "raising the kids" is up to the parents.

For most parents…they get to the end…and off their kids go into the world and into their own life with their long book full of stories that aren't so joyful they can share with their Christian peers about their childhood. How many people do you know who at age 18 would say their parents are their best friends? Most Christian parents have missed the mark. They have striven to "raise up godly kids" but have instead raised up kids who know how to act…but have no relationship with their parents. They have no good memories of childhood. They don't miss being at home with their parents. They can't wait to get away from their parents. And, the whole growing-up years are just a stressful memory.

If children are a blessing, as God says, and yet in your life all you feel like is that the kids are stressing you out, then something is wrong with the way you're looking at them. Something is wrong with what you think that relationship is supposed to look like. Your children should be your greatest source of joy, happiness, fulfillment, and relaxation. They should not be something you feel the need to get AWAY from but something you feel the need to get back to whenever you're away from them.

Even working and working to "build a future" for your kids while really all they want is you to be home..."now"...The relationship is "now"...

There is a very popular child-raising book which tells you that friendship (which the author calls a "buddy" which is simply a synonym for friend) with your child will harm your child...turn them into a self-centered egomaniac but at the same time the author claims that friendship with your child is something to look forward in the future (the author makes many such contradictory statements).

And, sadly, many have been led astray by this destructive teaching...

Friendship is all about mutual love and respect...about enjoying time spent together every day...and that is what having kids is all about...

In my own life...I have done many things and felt many ways thru my years with having my 8 children...One thing that I did manage to "get right" amidst a plethora of "wrong" stuff is...I have known a lot of people who have fussed at me about why I don't like "going out". I am the one most likely to be the "girl's night out party pooper". For a long time I thought that meant there was "something wrong" with me. But, truth is that I don't find time AWAY from my children to be more pleasurable than being with my kids. I love my friends, and value that time, but, nothing can compare with the "now" with my children…and that's not something "wrong"...

"Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And, follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know God will bring you to judgment for all these things. So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting."

(The book I was referring to above is Gary Ezzo's, "On Becoming Babywise" and should come with a warning lable...all things which are harmful to humans do...and this book is one sure-fire way to ruin your child...avoid it at all costs...getting your kid to sleep 8 hours straight is not worth the sacrifice of your relationship and your child's mental health for the rest of their life...)
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