The Problem with Pecuniary Parenting

September 29, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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In a previous lesson I critiqued the style of parenting in which parents make decisions concerning their children based on the popularity of the decisions. Getting input from our children, and listening closely to what they have to say, is certainly wise, but we recognize that our authority as parents comes from an authority higher than our children, and even higher than us.

Another parenting category may be called “monetary parents.” These parents tend to try to buy their children’s obedience, respect, or even love. The common parlance for this method is called “spoiling” your children. This is sometimes triggered by feelings left over from our own childhood that perhaps our parents were not as generous with us as we would have liked them to be. It helps to remember, as a counter to this temptation, that materialism breeds its own set of problems. Remember, your children are not an outlet for any lingering childhood resentments of your own, and you are not commanded in the Word of God (although you might be by society or pop culture) to give your children “all the things you never had.” Using bribery as a replacement for training, nurture, discipleship, and discipline is a recipe for rearing greedy, covetous kids.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Philippians 4:11

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:25-33

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

I Timothy 6:10

It is not wrong to give treats to our kids, and special presents from time to time, but it is wrong to rob them of the spiritual and practical disciplines of self-control and wise stewardship. Some of the poorest families I know are really the richest.

Next time, we will take a look at a third problematic parenting category.

The Raptor and the Captor

September 17, 2009 at 9:54 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Biblical Violence, Micah | 11 Comments
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Lemuel Briggs was a farmer in Mendocino County, California, in 1895. He had a lamb and two sons. Bald eagles were not as scarce in those days as they are today.

bald eagles

One day, a bald eagle left its nest in the mountains near Mr. Briggs’s farm, soaring on wings that measured over eight feet across, and carried off Mr. Briggs’s lamb. He was furious.

He sent his sons, Willie, aged 13, and Eddie, 11, up into the mountains to find the eagle’s nest. They obeyed.

However, as they went up the narrow mountain path, they neared the eagle’s nest before they realized it, and the eagle attacked. It circled around them, swooping in relentlessly, talons tearing and beak pecking. The attack ended with Eddie permanently scarred, having lost an eye.

One can only imagine the grief felt by Lemuel Briggs every time he saw his boy’s patched and scarred face. In the Bible, there was a tradition among the Jewish people of cutting off their hair or shaving their heads during times of devastating grief. As God’s people faced the chastening of God for their idol-worship and spiritual adultery, the prophet Micah used a bit of holy irony to drive home what would have been a sore point.

Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee.

Micah 1:16

The irony has to do with his description of their children as “delicate.” Parents who are not strict with their children when it comes to Bible study, church attendance, and Christian conduct, may gloss over the suggestion that they are spoiling them. However, when the enemy comes to take them captive, it will quickly become apparent that children who were too “delicate” to be subjected to discipline, are likewise too delicate to withstand the rough treatment they will experience at the hands of their captor.

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