“The problem with your child is not your child, it’s you. There was no such thing as a boomerang child in the 1950s. We were making a much more functional contribution to society by the age of 25. Children were not expected to read by first grade, and there were no teachers’ aides then. We all read from the same book. There were 65 kids to a classroom, and discipline was not an issue—the parents had done what they should have done before they sent them. Back then, your mother did not think your grades were a reflection of her as a mother. Today’s mother is consumed with her child’s achievement in school. Today’s mother is using flash cards with her child at three years old and earlier. Our mothers weren’t trying to turn us into scholarship winners—there was a tremendous amount of freedom to be a child. And even though we didn’t read at the beginning of first grade, our reading level far surpassed that of current first graders by the end of that year.” ~ Dr. John Rosemond, Parenting With Love and Leadership Straight Talk
The words above are just a small sample of what I took note of while hearing Dr. John Rosemond speak at last night’s “Parenting with Love and Leadership” event. If you could be a fly on the wall of my heart and just feel the freedom the Holy Spirit has given me—well, I am willing to bet many of you feel the same way right about now. I found myself nodding my head to the common sense wisdom and Biblical truth Rosemond so eloquently shared, while also acknowledging that, somewhere along the way, I have managed to hop aboard the sinking ship of parental anxiety.
Rosemond described the thousands of books and magazines consumed by moms and dads as the “tower of parenting babel” (see Genesis 11). As he spoke about the rise of pop psychology, I had a flashback of being pregnant with my first son. Every time I purchased more stretchy pants from the maternity store, I had to tell the clerk “No, please do not send me the free copies of parenting magazines.” (No means no, people.) The parenting “experts” are on a mission to captivate the minds of parents from the moment they know a woman is expecting a child. I did not decline the magazine because it was junk mail, but because I did not need to read what I presumed to be liberal voices of people who had no bearing on my life or that of my unborn child. I have enough mountains to climb rather than adding in those which are not ones God has placed on my heart. It was not until I heard Dr. Rosemond speak, however, that I felt a sense of freedom over certain decisions I have made—and ones I want to make going forward.
Here is the thing, my friends. While I may purposefully steer clear of certain magazines and do not treat my children like my “friends,” I am guilty of so much that was addressed, and it hurts my heart. I am the woman feeling frazzled because my three-year-old seems to think his arms will fall off if asked to pick up his toys. I am the woman who feels the need to have that same little boy practice tracing and go over flashcards so he is reading before school begins. I am that parent, guilty as charged. Do I want to be that stressed-out mom who thinks these things are a reflection of my parenting? Of course not! Do I want my children to be the recipients of far more burdens than they should bear? Never. I want my children to be children, and I want to be the best model of what a biblically-minded mother looks like. I share this because I am not the only one who can relate to much of what was said—if I were, Dr. Rosemond would not have a successful career speaking to parents.
“We psychologists have caused more problems to the American family than we even know how to solve. Prior to the 1960s when we started listening to psychologists, we didn’t go to a psychologist, we went to an elder in our family or our church/community and met over tea. The appointment cost you nothing. The person did not talk in theoretical terms and didn’t need a college degree to understand what you were saying… The person leaving that encounter felt a weight taken off her shoulders. I don’t think people in my profession succeed in that. We have caused parents to worry and manufactured parental anxiety. I think we have caused, to a significant degree, the worry a mother feels. Sixty years ago, we had a proper understanding of children. We no longer properly understand children because we’ve been listening to people like me spin their yarns about children. I don’t think parents today are clear that their authority over their children is absolute and they don’t need to justify that authority to their children. You are not obligated to justify any decision you make to your child. New parenting is all about explaining yourself to your child. One of the mantras of the 1960s was children deserve reasons. No one ever challenged these parenting pundits who spoke eloquently about children but knew nothing about them at all.” ~Dr. John Rosemond, Parenting With Love and Leadership Straight Talk
Blessed is a word tossed about too loosely these days, but after listening, learning, and leaning on God during this Stonebriar Straight Talk event, my husband and I were “blessed” in every sense of the word. My personal agenda beginning today is to lighten up and stand up. I want my children to rise up to the challenges of life, and I am going to stand tall with the authority God has given me when I speak to them. I vow today for my physical posture to not be that of a parent pleading on eye level, but to be that of a parent who desires her children to look up, stand firmly planted on the Word of God, and not sink down when speaking His Truth to others. It starts with me. It starts with you. But above all, it starts with God. Let us read the one parenting manual that has all the answers we need, if for no other reason than: because He said so!
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