Saturday, April 27, 2013

How valuable are your children?

So, you own two cars parked in your driveway one sunny Sunday afternoon... 

One is a fully restored 1958 Chevy convertible...valued at over $50,000...

Just look at it...

<dreamy sigh>

The other car in your driveway is a 1999 Ford Escort. You wrecked it twice in a blizzard in 2003. You backed into a tree with it after that party in 2007. The muffler fell off last spring when you ran off the road and over a mailbox after you almost hit that deer. This poor car is soon heading for the junk yard!

You're about to fire up the grill on this beautiful Sunday afternoon when just then a severe weather alert comes on your TV warning of possible golf ball-sized hail and possible tornadoes in your area!

You go outside and look up at the sky and all seems well to you. 

You have two cars in your driveway and one space in your garage. What do you do with the cars?

I would imagine that anyone with such a valuable investment would pull...the old classic car into their garage. Better safe than sorry, right?

Imagine that you were off at a friend's house in your neighborhood and saw that severe weather alert while your classic car was back home in your driveway. You'd probably drive home immediately (not wait till you actually SEE hail) and get that car into the garage!

The old beater that's soon destined for the junk yard? Eh. It'd sit there and get pelted by hail, right?

When something is valuable to us, we go out of our way to protect it, even when we don't see a threat ourselves. When something is not valuable to us, we don't. Simple, right?

How much would you say your children are worth? Would you sell one of them for $50k? Think they're worth more?

I had my first child in 1987...and did as had been done to me growing up and as I had been taught in Sunday School class by people I loved and respected: I whacked my kids when they were naughty. (In other words I spanked...but I hate that word! Sounds sexual to me!) 

One day, in 2008 I was asked by a friend what I thought on the subject and as I prepared to explain to her why she should hit/spank...I ran across this picture of an ancient shepherd's rod...

I had been "looking at the sky and thought it looked sunny" but suddenly...this "severe weather warning" flashed across my screen and I froze.

What is this? It's a weapon that the shepherds used for predators. The shepherd used his rod for hitting/hurting predators to protect the sheep. The shepherd didn't hit the sheep with this.

This changed the meaning of every verse that I'd ever read about "the rod." This changed the meaning of Psalm 23. The new interpretations of those verses horrified me! But, at the same time, I'd been "spanking" for over 20 years...and was about to give birth to my 8th child in a few months. I was still looking up into the sky and seeing sun...but...because my children were more valuable to me than a 58 Chevy convertible, I took protective steps in case there really was a storm coming.

And, since that time, I've read probably over 100 articles on the harm that spanking does to children. Harm far worse than golf ball-sized hail on a car. Far more devastating and hard to "repair" than hail.

And, what I've noticed is that there is a significant population of "Christians" who would be moved to protect a car...but rather than react in a "better safe than sorry" manner about this...treat their children more like that 1999 Ford Escort...Unlike me who when offered just one tidbit of information that suggested that I was doing something wrong and reacted...these people look at the evidence and just flat out deny that that evidence is there!?

Despite the endless succession of articles they see passing by on their news feed and despite the fact that people like me can give them over 120 reasons why spanking is wrong...they still just keep on doing it...

They wouldn't "argue" that there is no storm coming and stubbornly insist to leave their car in the driveway. Especially if they actually saw dark clouds and rain approaching. Yet, despite they have to spank their kids repeatedly for the same things...despite their children becoming aggressive...despite evidence they can see in their own family...they insist that hitting their kids is "God's way" and keep on...

To me...these "Christians" who insist that grown-ups hitting their small children to teach them lessons is God's way...ignoring all the arguments and evidence...I see these people like the owner of a 58 Chevy standing idly by watching hail pelting it saying, "What hail? I don't see any hail?"

It's something I'll never understand...and will always make me scratch my head and guessed it..."What the hail?" 

Friday, April 26, 2013

What do you do when you're angry?

I was just thinking about what I do when I'm mad or frustrated...

I do things like...

- post annoyed statuses on Facebook
- change my profile pic to an angry smiley
- water my yard
- go outside
- plant things in my yard
- take a shower
- just be mad and pout around
- slam something
- buy something
- go somewhere
- eat something
- listen to angry music
- tell the person I'm mad at ALL ABOUT IT! ;)
- tell someone else all about it
- write on my blog about it
- write an email to someone unrelated to my anger about it

There are other things, too, but you get the point right?

What kinds of things do you do?

There really are a lot of options depending on your own interests, aren't there? A lot of options...that is...if you aren't...a kid.

Did ya ever think of what it might be like if everything you do when you're mad or sad was forbidden or if you got punished for it? Like, what if someone offended you or did something that made you mad...and you reacted or simply showed that you were angry...and you got spanked for it? 

I was taught in Sunday School (in the 90's) that if my daughter expressed anger when being spanked that she was being rebellious and rejecting the correction and she was to get another spanking. 

I think about kids who live in such obedience-focused where parents are taught in Sunday School classes as I was to punish their children's anger...and our current world of violence loses it's mystery. How sad it is for so many of our world's children that when they feel like this...they're really not "allowed" to do anything about it but repress it...

But, unlike people...feelings buried alive don't die.

And, then we wonder why kids love violent video games...
We wonder why kids love angry music...
We wonder why kids shoot other kids...

We need to give our children their small expressions of anger when they're young and they will never explode and need to use an extreme expression of anger when they're older...

And...this...proves I can be short-winded if I try.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

(Self) Discipline ≠ (Self) Punishment

I was out planting flowers and something "hit" me...When we talk of having "self discipline" what do we mean?

Online dictionary defines it:
correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement

Online dictionary says synonyms for it are:
continence, restraint, self-command, self-containmentself-control, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-possession, self-restraint, willpower

This is interesting when you consider the popular idea among parents is that "discipline" is punishment that is aimed at breaking your child's will.


Something's wrong somewhere, don't you think?

If discipline is punishment then self discipline would be punishing yourself. Right? But, that doesn't work. That doesn't make sense because we know that when you practice self discipline that your life is the opposite of punished...because exercising self-discipline brings rewards.

Self discipline is that stuff you need to have to be on a diet, right? But, while restraining yourself from over indulging in fatty foods may be isn't punishment nor is it "painful" but it yields a reward...of a smaller waistline. Right?

Self discipline is what you need to have to not stay up too late when you have to get up in the morning. It may be hard to walk away from facebook or your blog or to turn off that favorite TV program and go to bed when you really wanna stay up, but, in the morning, you're rewarded by being not overly tired...or grouchy... 

Self discipline is what you need when you are out at a store and you really need to watch your spending. It may be hard to not buy those things that you see that you realllllly the end of the month there is more $ in your bank account for bills and groceries and less to fight about with your spouse and more money in savings for an unexpected problem like new tires or whatever! Right!

Self-discipline is what one needs to learn any new skill that takes practice. It may be hard to continue trying and trying when you keep failing. With some new tasks the learning can be really brutal (like gymnastics or figure skating or the studying required when becoming a doctor). It may seem overwhelming at times to learn but if you persevere you have the joy of learning that new skill to the point it can become even 2nd nature!

Self discipline at the time sucks, doesn't it? You really want to eat that big piece of chocolate cake...or scroll thru your newsfeed just one more time...or buy that purse you don't need! It's hard and you almost resent not giving in to what you want! But! The more you do it the easier it comes and then! You get rewarded!

Hebrews 12:11

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

So, as parents who desire to parent as our heavenly Father can we teach our children...
to be able to self-correct or regulate of themself for the sake of improvement
and to have power over their wills?

Can children learn all these things if parents always...
command them
contain them
control them
punish them
boss them
rule over them
restrain them
never let them make any choices
and punish them for exercising their wills?

No. They can't.

Children can't learn self-discipline as long as parents mistakenly believe that the definition of "discipline" is punishment.

You reap what you sow, right? You want to grow children who have the fruit of self-discipline you must discipline them as God does. If you want children who are able to "self correct or regulate themselves for the sake of improvement and have will power" you must sow seeds by reasoning and correcting. You plant seeds of reason and correction and your child will grow to be able to reason and self correct. 

You cannot do that with punishment or pain. 

God IS love. 
Perfect love casts out fear. 
God's discipline leads to life and reward. 
God's discipline leads to the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

If you want to parent as God does your "discipline" likewise should not involve fear and should lead to life and reward for your child.

If your child is afraid and your discipline leads to pain and are not doing what you see your Father doing...and it will lead only to death...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The voice of self-hatred wasn't me

So, there's this video going around right now that actually changed my future... 

It's the "Dove Beauty Sketches."

If you haven't seen starts off with some women going in and sitting down beside a partition with a man (sketch artist) on the other side. 

The woman is then asked questions about what she looks like and the man draws what she tells him to...

After she's done, another person who was instructed to spend time with her earlier is asked the same questions about her. Now there are two sketches. One is how the woman sees herself and the other is how others see her...

The one that is done based off of what the woman says about herself is not as good. 

The women are then brought back in to see the sketches. This lady's reaction really hit me and made me cry...because it was at this moment I realized something...

As I watched the video, I realized where Dove was trying to go with this...that "you are more beautiful than you think." They were trying to show us that others see us more favorably than we see ourselves and that our view of ourselves is lower than reality. But...what really hit me was...

I realized that if I was to sit across "from you" having coffee and was to describe myself, I'd say things like...that I have a nasty double chin and my eyes look so ugly and weirdly shaped when I smile. My skin is getting old looking. My teeth are all messed up in front from drinking soda my whole life and..." the list would go on. And, I realized that were I to go off to this sketch artist in my normal way of describing myself...that he would not draw an "accurate" picture of me. I would look at his drawing and see that it was "not me."

Being sort of a "perfectionist" in some areas (like formatting my posts, etc.) this really hit me because if I was to instruct him on how to make his final product "accurate" I would have to describe myself completely differently.

See, the revelation for me was not in that others see me differently than I was in realizing that I see me differently than I do.

What hit me was that I don't actually see myself the way I think I do. I already know that the way I describe myself is wrong. What then makes me speak of myself as I do? Why do I think I see myself so poorly? Why do I think that every part of me isn't good enough and doesn't measure up and "is ugly?" 

Because of how I was raised.

I was "taught" to see myself this way. I was taught that I was not good enough. I was taught that when I look in the mirror that person staring back at me doesn't measure up in any way. That's what was pounded into my head over and over, day after day, my whole formative years.

And, that belief that was put on me...that belief that was given to me...isn't me. Those thoughts aren't mine. Yet, somewhere along the line I adopted them as mine. I took them as my thoughts and those thoughts literally almost killed me so many times in my life...

Times that I've gotten SO LOW because I was overwhelmed with feeling inadequate and I was totally focused on all the things I can't do...don't do...won't do...times when I was focused on all the ways me, my body, and the way I live my life are not good enough...those times weren't ME. Those times were "that voice" that was put inside my head. Not me. 

I've been allowing someone else's voice to "possess" me in some sense and I've been believing a lie that that voice is me. The voice of self-hatred is not a voice of "self" hatred at all. It's simply "hatred" and it came from outside of me and it isn't ME. 

I don't hate me.
I don't think I'm good-for-nothing.
I don't think I'm worthless.
I don't think I'm inadequate.
I don't think I don't measure up.
I don't think that nothing I do is good enough.

And, it was in those short 3 minutes of watching that video that this hit me...

And, it was during those short 3 minutes that the 44 years' strangle hold that that other voice had over my life was taken away from it...

Sorry, other voice, but your time of controlling me is over...

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