June 20, 2007
It breaks my heart that so many Christian parents believe that they have to spank their children so very often. So many believe they have to break their child's will, that they must have first-time happy obedience at just about any cost. So many believe that discipline = spanking, so if you hear them say they needed to "discipline" their child, you know they meant spank.
But I want to know why?! Children are not animals who need to be broken. Not to mention that using harsh ways of training animals is not good or healthy for animals either. The fact is, there are so many ways to discipline our children -- there are so many ways to help children learn.
They can learn without spanking. They can learn without being purposefully hurt in any way. Pain is not necessary for someone to learn something. We adults learn things *all the time* without having pain associated with it. If you watch, you'll notice that your children do, too. There are times when each of us learns from painful situations via natural consequences, but life has so much pain in it already, why add to that on purpose when it's fully unnecessary?
We all make mistakes. I yell at my kids sometimes. I say mean things sometimes. I'm *no better* than any other parent. When I say that children don't need to have us do something to them that is purposefully painful in order for them to learn, I'm talking to myself as well. Sadly, hurtful words can be even more harmful than a quick spank.
But being hurtful in word or deed is wrong. It does not express the love we as Christians must show to others, including our children. When we make mistakes we must ask God's forgiveness and seek His help to change, apologize to our children, make amends, and move on. Our children need to know that mamas make mistakes, too, and we are all humans beings in need of God's grace.
June 18, 2007
Great Babywearing DVD
I (and my children ;)) recently watched the Tummy 2 Tummy Babywearing Instructional DVD. I started babywearing about 10-11 years ago, and I admit I've been kind of stuck in the past and know most about ring slings, but not so much about other types of carriers. I feel like watching this DVD has brought me current in my knowledge. :D
In the past I've watched videos on babywearing that were put out by particular companies for the type of carriers they sold, but this DVD was comprehensive and thorough. To have so much information in a well-organized format is invaluable.
I found it helpful that after I watched it, I was able to go back and watch specific sections (I'm now trying to get the hang of wearing my toddler on my back in a ring sling).
The DVD covers four main types of carriers -- Ring Slings, Pouches, Asian Back Carriers, and Simple Pieces of Cloth which includes wraps, shawls, and pareos. And within each section we learned about the various choices available for that type of carrier. We also learned reasons why some people like a certain type over another type. I appreciated, though, that each of the moms were very respectful of the different choices out there, not saying that one thing is better than the other or getting down on other carriers, but explaining that different types (or ways of wearing a particular type of carrier) work better for different people.
The DVD is very thorough, and the moms showing and telling how to use the carriers share their baby-wearing expertise in a way that makes wearing babies and toddlers look do-able, fun, comfortable, and very cool. They present important safety tips, and they share very useful information in the troubleshooting sections.
One "warning," though ;) -- this DVD made me and my children *really* want to have another baby in our family. :D
If you are confused by all the different types of carriers out there, if you are not enjoying the carrier you have and are not sure if you are wearing it right, if you want to try something new but are worried you won't be able to figure it out. . . for whatever reason. . . if you love babywearing and/or want to learn more about the how-to's of babywearing, I think you will enjoy this DVD very much.
June 02, 2007
The Bible Does not Tell Parents to Spank
When I was younger, up until sometime in the first year of my first daughter's life (she is 11 now), I thought that Christian parents needed to spank their children in order to be godly parents. I'm a theologically conservative Christian, I grew up attending a fundamentalist school from kindergarten through four years of college, and I thought that, biblically, parents were supposed to spank their children. Of course I planned on spanking. There was no question in my mind about it.
When my firstborn was about eight months old (that was when we first got on the internet), I started really looking into attachement parenting. I found other Christians online who practiced attachment parenting, and I found out that many of them didn't spank their children. Choosing not to spank made sense to me -- when I was trying so hard to build a healthy attachment with my child and to build her trust in me by treating her gently, wearing her in a sling, breastfeeding her, sleeping with her, etc., why would I want to purposefully take my hand or an object and strike her?
I studied the issue and realized I felt that God had led me not to spank. Verses stood out to me which said, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance. . . " (Gal. 5:22, 23b), "Love is patient, love is kind" (see the rest of I Cor. 13 for more about what love is)", ". . . we proved to be gentle among you as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children" (I Thess. 2:7), "do to others what you would have them do to you" (Mat. 7:12), etc. It felt *right* not to spank, yet still part of me worried about those "rod" verses in the Bible. Part of me secretly wondered "what if I was wrong?"
These days I feel sure that the Bible does not command parents to spank. In fact, I've realized that the Bible says nothing about spanking. If your Bible uses the word "spank" that is because people translating that version of the Bible decided to translate it that way. It's a cultural interpretation of the Hebrew words from which it is translated.
What we do know without a doubt that God commands parents to discipline their children. However, discipline does not = spanking. God doesn't tell parents what specific discipline methods to use. The term "rod" means discipline in general, but it is not telling us what particular form of discipline to use.
In the so-called "spanking verses," the word "rod" is translated from the Hebrew word "shebet." A shebet is a shepherd's staff (see Psalm 23:4 where it says, ". . . thy rod and thy staff they comfort me") or a king's scepter (Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary explains that "the use of the sceptre originated in the idea that the ruler was as a shepherd of his people"), and it sybolizes authority. A shebet was used to guide sheep and to protect sheep and fight off predators. The Hebrew word "shebet" does not mean "hand," "switch," "paddle," "wooden spoon," or any type general type of implement. And we certainly wouldn't hit our children with a literal rod. Importantly, we see through use of the word "shebet" that God has given parents the authority and responsibility to discipline -- a word which means teach, to disciple -- their children.