Recently I made a comment on Facebook about babywise and quickly learned that discussing parenting styles on Facebook is akin to talking about global warming and vaccines.
But I learned something in the process, something I didn’t expect.
I learned two things about Christian parents that day and I think it can be incredibly dangerous.
The first, when it comes to parenting, Christians are very relative.
In fact, let me make a bold statement. By and large, most Christian parents care very little about what the Bible says about parenting and what science says about parenting.
Parenting styles aside for a minute.
There were almost 50 comments on the thread (which I deleted because it hurt my heart and made too angry), but almost every comment started with, “Well for my kid…”
No one ever started a sentence with, “The Bible or scientific research says…” Or, “my goal as a Christian parent because of the Bible is…”
It largely boiled down to what is easiest as a parent.
Now, we couch that in language about how its working for our kids, but I know for years I fell into the parenting trap of what is easiest and most convenient for me.
No Christian would ever say they don’t care what the Bible says about parenting, but many of the ways we parent say otherwise. It doesn’t matter what your parenting style is, how you communicate with your child or how you discipline them. If you are a follower of Jesus, what the Bible says about those things is way more important than what you think works for your child. For the most part, you are guessing at what you think works for your child because you don’t know until it’s over and they’ve moved out. That’s why what the Bible says and what scientific research says is so important.
When it comes to scientific research, I realize some Christians can get weird about that and start to wonder if God was taken out of the picture. While that happens, at the same time, there are incredible discoveries being made about our brains, how we are created and wired and all of that comes from God, whether a Christian discovers that or not. While this might be another blog topic, I think Christians needs to stop fearing science and start seeing how it confirms our Creator and his great plan for us.
The second thing I learned about parents is, we don’t really want to learn anything new.
Almost no one in the over 50 comments asked, “How did you come to that conclusion? What do you know that I don’t? What books have you read that led you to that?”
Not wanting to learn or be stretched is an incredibly dangerous place to live, but many Christians stay in that zone when it comes to a lot of issues.
Are there things that Christians should reject out of hand without researching? Yes. This is why it matters so much to know what the Bible says about parenting (stay tuned for another post on that).
Now, like the first, no Christian parent would ever say they don’t want to learn. In fact, most feel incredibly inadequate as a parent (I know I do more times than not), but I think in an effort to feel better about ourselves as parents and what we are doing as parents, we shut down anything that might be new because we don’t want to be told we may have been doing the wrong thing.
I know a couple of years ago when we were going through our adoption classes and reading The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family and The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, all I could think of was “how did we mess this up as parents?” What I learned in those resources and classes had way more to do with how I and Katie parented all of our kids than just how to relate to the kids we adopted.
As a parent who claims to be a follower of Jesus, don’t settle for “this worked for me or my friend.” We have way more wisdom than that out there. What does the bible say about parenting? What are you called to be and do as a parent? That’s where we should start.
Next week I’ll share what I think is the most important question for any parent to answer as it relates to your child. It is the question that shapes our parenting style, the books we read, how we communicate, discipline and teach our kids. It is that big of a deal and most parents never even think about it.