Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I’ve argued before that parenting, to some extent, involves training our children. Or conditioning them to have certain responses through how we interact with them in various situations, either positively or negatively. We shout “No, hot!” when they reach for the stove and our raised voice, which they have been conditioned to interpret as not normal in healthy situations, alerts them to know that they shouldn’t touch the hot item. Some children will accept this warning, others will question it, and a few will touch it any damn way. I have one of each. Parenting them is a constant experiment in human behavior. I do my best to condition them to have responses that will ensure their health and well-being, such looking both ways when crossing a busy street. I do this by explaining the danger, practicing the behavior myself, and responding to their actions with praise or correction. When the cars are removed I expect the same response as if the cars were there. They are individuals, though, so my risk taker isn’t going to be as cautious as his brothers. *I’m pretty sure he’s the reason my hair is going gray. Seriously, he walks into the street without looking all the time like there isn’t danger out there. Why? Why does he do that?!* Anyways..., this is where parenting only takes you but so far, because children are individuals.
Unless you prescribe to the methods of the Pearls.
Oh, the Pearls. I can’t remember when I first came across their promise of well-behaved/fully obedient children, but I will admit at first I thought “Holy shit that’s awesome!” On a shitty day the promise of being able to say “Clean your room” only once is a powerful aphrodisiac. Once the fantasy fades, and you actually read what goes into producing such “well-behaved” children, you are able to see their parenting philosophy for what it is. A flawed theory based on bronze age insanity that seeks to crush what makes our children the vibrant individuals they are, in hopes of making our lives as parents easier. While there are days I wish this parenting gig got easier, I know it isn’t supposed to be easy because I’m doing the work of raising humans. I'm striving to raise thriving unique individuals who are free to question and think critically about everything, including why we shouldn’t touch hot objects with our bare hands or cross streets without looking first. Not mindless robots with broken spirits. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth doing well will be.
So, why am I bringing up the Pearls and their parenting philosophy if it is vastly different from my own? Because, I’m a sucker for producing enlightening and entertaining television...or intervision? Karen, BeAsia, and I have been throwing around the idea of a show where we attempted to live biblically in our parenting for a week. I know, it’s a scary thought. You all have seen our kids on the show from time to time, that shit wouldn’t fly with that lot of heathens, and thank The Great Noodle for that! I still felt it would be an interesting experiment to explore, so for the rest of September I’ll be using the Pearls methods and documenting it here. Then on September 27th we’ll discuss the experience on The Secular Parents.
Now, before I get a bunch of emails let me explain how I’m doing this:
- I won’t actually use the Pearls methods on my children. I’ve put too much hard work into raising critical thinkers with a high self-worth to undo that. Plus, I love them far too much to break them. How can we break someone we love? I never could wrap my mind around that concept. Love is about building someone up not tearing them down. At least that's how I see it.
- I’ll log my children’s behavior and the “appropriate” consequence(s) the Pearls recommend I use along with what I actually did and why I do things the way I do.
- I’ll ask my children how they would feel if their consequence was what is recommended and document their response as well as my own response.
- On the show, I will have a visual to show the number of times it’s recommended to physically harm my children. I like visuals. While I deal in words, nothing can take the place of a powerful visual.
There will probably be swearing, ok there WILL be swearing, with my commentary as I work my way through the next couple of weeks. So much swearing and ranting…who the hell thinks it's ok to beat an infant?! Thor help me, it's going to be a long two weeks.
Copyright(c)2015 Rayven Holmes