Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blind Obedience

I'm going for the double header today, not because I've been slacking on writing - which I have, but I had a side thought while writing the last post that I wanted to explore some more...

Obedience is an interesting concept...

I attend religeous services on most weekends, and while sitting in a discussion group a few weeks ago, someone made the comments that sometimes they just need some obedience from their kids.

I remember being told while I was young that 'Obedience is the First Law of Heaven'

To be honest with you, I now find myself disagreeing with much of that, and let me explain why I feel this way...

What is obedience? It's the laying aside of logical thought to follow a direction given by someone else. It sounds like a great idea when your son won't clean his room, but what if you get a group of middle aged men, and you want them to fly planes into buildings - Not such a great concept any more now is it!!

While those are two examples might appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, when you get down to the 'nitty gritty' they are pretty much the same.

Looking back at my own life, obedience has very seldom served me well, and so I have a goal to raise children that are not obedient little robots.

Now before you start sending hate mail.... (although any response is appreciated!) Let me explain my position:

I would prefer my kids not smoke or drink, so I have 2 options.

1. I command them never to touch cigarettes or alcohol, and follow it up with a speech about how much it will dissapoint me if they do and how mad God will be with them.

2. I teach them about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol. I also try to instill in them a sense of responsibility, a knowledge that they are free to choose, education about addiction and the physiological effects of chemicals on the body, and then I trust them to make their own decisions.

I know if I was a kid, which one I would rather have, and to be honest, I think the second would likely be far more effective as well, not just with the specific topics, but with any similar related problems they might face.

I want to raise my kids so that they can think for themselves and aren't tied down because of fear that they might break one of my rules and that I might be dissapointed with them.

So in a nutshell, here is my parenting approach. You may agree or disagree, and you might even recognize some of the sources.

1. I'll teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.

2. Moderation in all things.

3. They are in charge of themselves and get to choose their own destiny.

I am sure the time will come that I may want to eat those words, but on the whole, if I can help my kids enter the world with a sense of responsibility and a direction in their lives, I think that is the greatest advantage that I can give them.

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