When giving parenting advice, I have gotten reactions that fall almost completely into one of two categories. One, the listeners will wholeheartedly agree with me; this indicates that my advice mimics what they are already doing or what they are determined to do when the situation calls for it. Two, the listeners will ignore me; this means they disagree with me and have no intention of changing — and that they likely see me and my ilk as the cause of the downfall of society. That’s fair, I guess, since it’s what I think of them.
The takeaway for me is, people will hold on to their personal judgments like grim death, particularly when the subject matter is something they take very seriously. In short, people don’t like to be told they are wrong. And it’s a shame, really, since so many people out there are wrong so frequently.
It’s true with regard to parenting in particular, though. The idea that they are responsible for putting their children on the road to destruction — that’s just unthinkable to the average mom and dad. So they prefer not to think it.
I’m learning not to care that much when people differ with me with regard to specific applications of Biblical principles. It’s different, though, when the principles themselves are called into question. Discipline is the obvious example; the Bible teaches parents to chasten wayward children (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6, 1 Samuel 3:13); that includes punishment (Proverbs 22:15, 23:13-14).
If your children have never earned a sharp word of retort, let along a whipping, you are ignoring the Bible. And you shouldn’t. It’s trying to tell you how much you hate your children (Proverbs 13:24). I have a hunch you would like to change that, if only you recognized it in yourself.
So please, take some advice. Not from me; from God.