Friday, March 12, 2010

Raising Children Gary Ezzo's...oops...God's Way

Good article here on the subject of raising children and the danger of being enslaved to a particular methodology.


Mike said...

For every family that places too much emphasis on following a particular style of parenting (which are, to my knowledge, 90% or so in agreement on major issues), there are 10 families who parent in love but could vastly improve their lives with a little training. I know that we could parent better and there are probably some relatively simple things I could be doing differently where the only reason I'm not doing it is because I don't know any better.

To me this guy offered the "let go and let God" approach to parenting as a viable alternative. I think we need be more willing to give advice to young families, not less. Older saints in particular need to be more willing to share advice--specific advice--and younger moms (and dads) need to be gracious in allowing these folk to carry out their scriptural duty.

Maybe it's different in the midwest, but I don't see too many families struggling with the idea that a certain parenting philosophy will guarantee a long and fruitful walk with God. However, a few pointed tips could very well lead to a more peaceful home and less-stressed parents.

There are people that consider confessionally reformed Christians foolish because they have these "forms of unity" that they place too much emphasis on. We would counter that they are faithful summaries of God's word. Similarly, I think parenting skills can be vastly improved by various 'faithful summaries' that apply Biblical principals to everyday life.

So yeah this article irritated me a lot. It's exactly the opposite of what I think people need. Am I saying he's wrong? Certainly not. Of course what he says it's true. It's just that we're naturally inclined toward lazy parenting. I don't need this guy telling me it's okay because ultimately my child's faith is in the hands of King Jesus.

Kevin Efflandt said...

Mike, I think you've read something into the article that's not there. For example, he says, "Am I suggesting that you do away with every program, system, or approach? Am I suggesting that you take a completely hands-off approach and adopt a fatalistic que sera, sera attitude, so that you do nothing? Absolutely not!" This is certainly not the "let go and let God approach." He then goes on to say, "Our faithful Savior does use means. So work hard! Exercise great diligence in this most crucial undertaking. Pour your life into your children. But always recognize that no matter which methodology you use, it is only a means. It can never replace the Lord and Giver of life. Be sure to make Jesus your hope. Put your faith in him and him alone. Trust him for the results."

Maybe your era of parenting is a bit different than what we saw when we were your age. If so, that's wonderful! But 10-15 years ago, we witnessed people who had bought into a particular system and thought that by virtue of following that system, that everything was going to be just fine. Their children would always say the right thing, talk the right way, and act just like Mr. Ezzo said they would act. They were trusting in the system rather than in the Lord.

Now I do agree with you that some parents are lazy. They don't catechize their children. They don't discipline their children ("Boys will be boys"). And they don't model for their children what it means to follow the Lord in grateful service and obedience. These parents need a swift kick!

To me, the article struck the proper balance: Working hard at parenting and yet ultimately, trusting in the Lord.

JR said...

I liked the article. Grace-driven parenting, and not guilt-driven, in my book.

Mike said...

Yeah I see how he offered a disclaimer. It's kind like saying "no offense, but..." right before you say something offensive.

I'm not big on "cover my bases" disclaimers.

Kevin Efflandt said...

JR...I don't think it's really a matter of grace-driven versus guilt-driven. I think it's a matter of being careful to not trust in a given methodology.

Mike...I guess I still don't see the article the way you do. I don't see his focus being this laissez-faire style of parenting, with "work hard at parenting" added on as an addendum.