09 September 2007

We Mean it for Good

I was talking with a friend this afternoon about the product of legalism in parenting. I have seen overly strict parents, who have their child's absolute best at heart, often inadvertently send their child into wild rebellion. I knew a family with seven children who were all raised without television, without radio, never allowed to go to the "show", the girls weren't allowed to wear make-up, nobody was allowed to date, they couldn't so much as take a step without a measuring stick determining whether or not the length of their stride was appropriate. These kids had clean faces, and clean hands, but their hearts longed for contamination. All seven of them got out of their parents home and have no interest whatsoever for the things of the Lord, who in their experience would restrict their intake of oxygen.
I have also seen parents whose desire was to turn their children's hearts to celibacy and purity- and instead gave their children an aversion to the opposite sex, eventually giving in to a preference for their own gender.
The enemy is watching us. If he can't use our shortcomings as individuals to contaminate our children, he will attempt to use what we intend for good and pervert it. I have not reached the end of my parenting years, and don't claim to know everything, but on the most basic level, I trust that the God who brought my heart out of a very dysfunctional childhood, to having a heart that seeks Him and strives to please Him in all that I do to lead my children as well. I don't have to make a "rule" about every little thing. I can show love and grace just as the Father has shown me.


  1. AMEN!!!!
    I see it all the time restrictive parenting totally backfiring. Families need to work together for the good of all not be so ruled that they live in fear and then go hog wild, sometimes they rebel as adults, my friend and I were just talking about the recklessness in some that were raised in restrictive *Christian* homes.

  2. I have enjoyed Dr. Tim Kimmel's books- have you read those. He writes about grace-based parenting. A concept that does not always come naturally for those of us raised in more legalistic homes.

  3. The tricky thing is that what is restrictive and all wrong for one child is what another child needs, and a challenge as parents is figuring out what each child needs, which may not be what the first one, two or three needed at all.
    Extremes usually backfire. When I was a kid I had a friend whose parents forbade candy or sweets. As soon as she was out of her parents sight and in the vicinity of the local candy store, she ate more candy then any of the rest of us who were allowed treats, because it was forbidden.

  4. Parenting is such a balance thing! It's allowing your kids to have wings but you also have to make sure they have roots. Even a balanced home life is no guarantee that they won't get off track. I too have seen where parents have gone overboard in either direction and have ended up puching their kids away. Not just away from God but also from themselves!

  5. I know exactly what you are speaking of. Seen similar things myself. I am not saying that my oldest teen is a pleasure walk these days, but God has put me in a place to work with it, as He would...not restrict and confine. However will those children learn to think on their own?

    BTW, if one more person asks when Eric is going to cut his hair....grrrr!

  6. Such a good reminder to stay humble and soft hearted.


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥