Friday, December 22, 2006

Preparation for Motherhood, Part 2

I know I’m supposed to write something nice and mushy for Christmas, but my mind is still going about the subject of preparation for parenting. Last time I wrote about what I believe to be the first and foremost “requirement” for successful parenting, and that is, after having a living and vibrant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, to have a wonderful and loving relationship with your husband. Today, I’d like to deal with what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of child training:

Developing “Backbone”

Mothers are famous the world over for being loving, kind, sweet, and always thinking the best of their children. I’ve noticed over the years, however, that mothers are also known for being “pushovers” – allowing their children to get away with everything short of murder!

Not being willing to say “NO” is the root of an established selfish streak in a child. A mother who is afraid, or even who has reservations about crossing a child’s will, quickly finds herself in situations far beyond her control. A mother needs to have some “backbone,” willingness to say “no,” even when she doesn’t feel like it.

This philosophy doesn’t get along very well with the modern “do-whatever-feels-good” society, and I’m afraid many young women were coddled themselves, and so do not know what it is like to have someone say “no” to them. For young women such as these, there is a very high mountain to climb, but it is not unclimbable. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”

Denying the flesh is the heart of the matter. A woman who is not willing to deny herself and work hard will be unable to require that of her children. A woman who has a “hissy fit” when things don’t go her way will find it nearly impossible to direct her childrens’ wills, and insist on quiet compliance.

We must understand the outcome of what we currently allow. Everything done to a very small child will magnify itself, until the child is grown, at which time the character traits will actually be a large part of what the young person is.

Susanna Wesley, mother of the famous men of God, John and Charles Wesley, said it this way,

“In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will and bring them to an obedient temper. To inform the understanding is a work of time, and must with children proceed by slow degrees, as they are able to bear it; but the subjecting the will is a thing that must be done at once, and the sooner the better, fot be neglecting timely correction they will contract a stubbornness and obstinacy which are hardly ever after conquered, and never without using such severity as would be as painful to me as to the child….I cannot yet dismiss the subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children ensures their after wretchedness and irreligion: whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident when we further consider that religion is nothing else than doing the will of God and not our own; that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, not indulgence of it can be trivial, no denial, unprofitable.” (emphasis mine)

For some reason, many of us have a tendency to allow boys, especially cute little ones, to “get away with more,” for lack of better words. This does not help them at all! They grow up to be big, self-centered mommy-coddled clods! Don’t let it happen!

Ladies, we need to have some backbone! Be willing to say “No!” First to yourself, and then to your children!

No comments: