Parenting: The Last Bastion of Legalism?

Crazy BusyKevin DeYoung recently authored Crazy Busy, a book about the busyness that all too often runs and ruins our lives. There is much in it that calls for thought and reflection. One of my favorite sections that I was surprised to even find in the book covered parenting. As a dad of three very active boys I enjoyed his chapter on parenting so much that I have decided to pass it on to in hopes that it will cause you to get the book yourself. Kevin writes:

Parenting has become more complicated than it needs to be. It used to be, as far as I can tell, that Christian parents basically tried to feed their kids, clothe them, teach them about Jesus, and keep them away from explosives. Now our kids have to sleep on their back (no, wait, their tummies; no, never mind, their backs), while listening to Baby Mozart and surrounded by scenes of Starry, Starry Night. They have to be in piano lessons before they are five and can’t leave the car seat until they’re about five foot six.

It’s all so involved. There are so many rules and expectations. Parenting may be last bastion of legalism. Not just in the church, but in the culture. We live in a permissive society that won’t count any sin against you as an adult, but will count the calories in your kids’ hot lunches. I keep hearing that kids aren’t supposed to eat sugar anymore. What a world! What a world! My parents were solid as a rock, but we still had a cupboard populated with cereal royalty like Captain Crunch and Count Chocula. In our house the pebbles were fruity and the charms were lucky. The breakfast bowl was a place for marshmallows, not dried camping fruit. Our milk was 2%. And sometimes, if we needed to take the edge off a rough morning, we’d tempt fate a chug a little vitamin D.

As nanny parents living in a nanny state, we think of our children as amazingly fragile and entirely moldable. Both assumptions are mistaken. It’s harder to ruin our kids than we think and harder to stamp them for success than we’d like. Christian parents in particular often operate with an implicit determinism. We fear that a few wrong moves will ruin our children forever, and at the same time assume that the right combination of protection and instruction will invariably produce godly children.

You can buy the book here. The beginning of a new year is a great time to read it!

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