Today’s post was written by my friend, Heather Schopp. I appreciate so much the transparency with which Heather shares; her thoughts came after she and I had discussed some of the myths that damage the parent-child relationship. I also encourage you to listen to her testimony from the 2012 Treasures of a Mother’s Heart Retreat.
Over and over, I have heard that a parent is not supposed to be a friend to his/her child, that it’s not a part of a parent’s role, that it in fact interferes with a parent’s role. So what’s implied is that if you are your child’s friend, you are doing something wrong. Consequently, barriers are erected to prevent the friendship and many times, those barriers come in the form of so-called “discipline.” This discipline, usually involving spankings and the expectation of instant obedience (with a happy face) and no fits or arguing or questioning, erects an effective barrier to friendship because real friendships involve grace, and gentleness, and hashing things out, and honesty from both sides.
I remember when Forrest, my 10 year old, was 2. I had read Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart and saw my child was not doing what Tripp said he should be: Forrest was not obeying immediately. When I’d call him, usually he didn’t come. So I explained to Forrest, “If i call you once, and you don’t come, I will spank you.” And I did because I thought I was not properly teaching him if I didn’t. But I never felt good about it (and I cry when I think back to it and am doing so as i write this).
A year or so ago my 9 year old Forrest asked me, jokingly, “Mom, would you ever hit me?” “No,” I said , “but, I used to.” “What?!? When?” “I used to spank you” I said. “Oh, that’s different. That’s just a swat on the leg or butt.” “What would you call that?” I asked. He thought for few seconds, then “A hit, I guess…but still, that was to teach a lesson.” I told him “Just because it taught a lesson doesn’t mean it was the right way to do it. I’m sorry I spanked you. If I could go back, I’d do it differently.” And he forgave me and ran off to play. Now that’s a friendship, a willingness to admit faults, forgiveness requested and instantly received.
I don’t think we are called as parents to set ourselves apart from our children, to put them on a tier lower than ourselves, to elevate ourselves as parents to a status above them. They are our neighbors, our nearest and dearest. We are called to love them as we love ourselves. They are our sisters and brothers in Chris and if one is stumbling, we are called to come alongside him/her and encourage, nudge, even carry sometimes. We can come alongside our children and guide them and teach them, as their parents, as their friends.
If I could go back to that tiny redhead 2 year old, I would still tell him that it’s important to come when mama calls and I would retrieve him and remind him of this until he got it. I would befriend my toddler and embrace him as I taught him.
God calls to each of us; He calls us to be His children, He calls us to be His friends. and He doesn’t threaten us if we don’t. But He is persistent and loving and always speaks truth.
And I think, if the Maker of the universe can be my friend, then I, a human parent, can befriend my babies.
A little while back I asked my kids if there was anything that they wished I did differently as a parent. They all said “no.” Several minutes later Forrest said, “I thought of something mom…I wish we spent more time alone together.” So we began taking pal times. This morning he asked me, “What are we doing today?” I ran off a list, then he asked, “Can you and I have a pal time tonight?” So that’s the plan for the evening–a pal time with my son, my 10 year old friend, Forrest.
Throughout the militant fecundity podcast series, I repeatedly asked listeners this question:
“Do you love children?”
Since most of my listeners are parents and many are homeschoolers and Christians, the answer ought to be obvious. At one time I might have thought the answer would surely be a resounding “yes!” but for some homeschoolers I fear the answer may instead be “Well, I love my own homeschooled children.” I am hesitant to ask that question any more, especially after reading recent reports describing Home School Legal Defense’s continual push for parental rights and their desire to fight against child protective services, even in the most extreme of child abuse cases if it involves homeschooling families.
Last week a former homeschool daughter, now a mom herself, wrote an article describing three examples she believes show that HSLDA has supported the rights of abusive parents to homeschool their children. One of the cases involved a homeschooling family who had adopted 11 special needs children who were reportedly being kept in cages.
“The Gravelles’ children told Sommers of punishments including ”spankings with a board, name calling and being held under water,” Sommers said. One boy said he had ”his face shoved against a bathroom wall until his nose bled,” Sommers testified. The sleeping arrangements for some of the children were homemade enclosures made with wood and chicken wire that had alarms on the doors. County authorities call the enclosures ”cages,” while the Gravelles say they were enclosed beds used to protect the children. The children would soil their beds rather than open the door and go to the bathroom because they did not want to trigger the alarm, they also told the investigator. Another boy told the detective he was forced to write ”in long hand” a book out of the Bible before he was allowed out of his enclosed bed, Sommers testified.”
At one point, an attorney for HSLDA described the Gravelles as “heroes” for caring for these children. I have not been able to find a retraction or valid explanation for this. In one of the other cases where HSLDA defended the homeschooling rights of a family, a child died from the abuse.
I would like to look at these claims from a couple different perspectives and then open the floor for discussion here. Please be sure to read the whole investigative report and the links provided in the articles for a fuller picture of the situation.
First of all, HSLDA has been promoting the Parental Rights Amendment which has been discussed here in the past. If you watch the video clip on this post, it is quite clear that the right to physically punish children is central to this amendment. I have no doubt that one reason so many parents have jumped on this bandwagon is because they believe Scripture requires spanking. The very thought that some of these parents have been followers of Michael Pearl and that to this date HSLDA has not publicly rebuked him is outrageous. (I have looked for any statement from HSLDA regarding Michael Pearl and cannot find one. If anyone has found this, please share it here. I would love to be wrong on this.)
Secondly, I am not surprised in the least that this has been the posture of HSLDA. In 2009 they co-sponsored the Homeschool Leadership Summit where one of the goals listed in their manifesto was to get rid of Child Protective Services which I discussed in this podcast series on august 15 and 21, 2010. From the first time I saw that on the list, I was dumbfounded. While I do not believe the government is the solution to all of society’s ills, I do believe there are times when it must step in to protect children who are genuinely being abused. I know many godly parents who do understand this and have become involved in the foster care system in order to provide good homes for little ones in these situations. But to me, the message HSLDA is sending is that protecting the rights of parents to homeschool trumps protecting children (any children) from abuse.
I can’t help but wonder if this is the same attitude Douglas Wilson recommends for those of us who believe saving the lives of the unborn, whether from believing or unbelieving parents, is important. He wrote in his book Mother Kirk: Essays on Church Life:
“The unbelievers are destroying themselves in a frenzy of child-murder and fruitless sodomy. Let them go. These are hard words. But Christians must learn to say them. Paul taught us that the children of God-haters are “foul” or “unclean” (I Cor 7:14). We must come to the day when the Christian can truly rebuke those who are “without natural affection” and say – “The ancient psalmist blessed the one who would take little ones of those who hate God and dash them on the rock (Ps 137:9). We see by your pro-abortion position that you clearly agree with this kind of treatment. And we in the Church, in a way you cannot truly comprehend, are now prepared to say amen.”
Appalling isn’t it?
I also have written about the importance for homeschooling families to police themselves, not by turning each other in to authorities, but rather, coming alongside each other and encouraging each other while respecting boundaries. And I am not talking only about one on one, family to family relationships but also being wise and discerning when we attend conferences and events. For example, too many conferences now screen their vendors and speakers, putting them through a patriocentric grid before they can teach or sell their products. Why do we continue to support those groups?
What will happen if we do not get involved personally? Well, it has already been suggested that some homeschooling families are in violation of the constitutional rights of daughters if they are not offered educations equal to sons in the same family.
I know someone is going to point out that Libby Anne who did this research is not particularly favorable to homeschooling. I know she, as do many others, believes there need to be more restrictions on homeschooling and that homeschoolers need to meet standards established by the government. But my response is “why?” Does anyone believe the government has been so successful at educating children that they should dictate to homeschoolers some arbitrary standards? And who decides what it actually means to be educated? If we want to scream “educational neglect” we had better do it in the direction of the government schools first!!!
So, this has been brief considering the topic, but what do you think? And how can homeschooling families find the balance between protecting our rights to educate our own children and still care for little ones who are abused, no matter what school they attend?
“Seriously? Driscoll said what?”
A few days ago I read an article by Wendy Alsup that is resonating with many women who used to call themselves complementarians. Wendy continues to define herself by that word but is asking all the right questions and seeking to add another, though wiser, voice to the schizophrenic cacophony of evangelical gender discussions. I highly recommend reading this and would love to discuss it here because I know so many of you truly understand the need for this dialogue.
Sallie has also had some great things to say regarding Wendy’s article and has linked to some other good reads as well. Kevin DeYoung of the Young, Restless, and Reformed blog also responded to Wendy’s insghts but my first thought is that I wonder if self-proclaimed apologists for complementarianism ever read what each other has written. He seems to be clueless as to why these issues are even important!
Along these same lines, Kendra Fletcher, best known for her wonderful Preschoolers and Peace blog, has shared her own struggles with the complementarian position as it relates to women in relationship to one another within the church. She brings up the idea that frustration in ministry could be at the root of inward fighting within the local church. I think this is extraordinarily insightful.
Oh, and for those who don’t really believe there is an agenda to promote adversarial relationships between men and women in the church, you might want to check out this quote by Mark Driscoll:
“Being married to [nagging wives] is like a life sentence, and the guy’s just scratching on his wall every day,” he told the congregation. “Proverbs talks about certain women—they’re like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It’s what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war.”
In looking up the actual reading of Proverbs 27:15, it says:
“The continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”
We have been having rain nearly every day for the past few weeks, so much so that Illinois has experienced record flooding and many counties, mine included, have been considered disaster areas. But even with the continual dropping of rain, we all know it isn’t ever going to be a “life sentence.” In fact, after Noah’s flood, God promised us, with the sign of the rainbow, that He would never again destroy the earth with water. So Driscoll’s hyperbole is apparent.
But the real problem in his statement is that he equates “dripping rain” with a form of torture called “waterboarding:”
“Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage, and death. Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years. The term water board torture appears in press reports as early as 1976. The captive’s face is usually covered with cloth or some other thin material, and the subject is immobilized on his/her back. Interrogators pour water onto the face over the breathing passages, causing an almost immediate gag reflex and creating the sensation for the captive that he is drowning.”
Perhaps Driscoll thought he was being clever and dramatic but what his statement actually does is create and promote adversarial relationships between men and women that goes far beyond the irritations that come along with being sinful creatures in a fallen world. Where is the admonition toward one anothering in his comment? It can’t be found because in his world, a woman who nags her husband is waterboarding him! Gee whiz.
We hurried home from Nashville last Saturday because my mom had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. She passed away on Wednesday evening. It has been an intense week and a time of great sorrow but also great rejoicing because she is now with the Lord, with my dad, and with so many other beloved saints who have gone before her.
My mom had spent the past 19 years in our home and we often joked that we not only homeschooled 6 children but one grandma as well since she participated in so many things we did as a family. She spent endless hours reading to preschoolers and listening to the younger boys when they were first learning to read themselves. She endured hours of mess making as the boys often took their craft projects to her room where she cut, pasted, painted, and drew right alongside them, “ooohing” and “ahhhing” as only a grandma can. Her favorite subject was history and she looked forward to watching documentaries and participating in discussions about them around the dinner table. Once, after seeing a history channel presentation on WW2, she stunned us by remarking, “Oh yes, I remember coming down for breakfast one morning and seeing a picture of Mussolini* hanging upside down in the newspaper.” Her firsthand accounts of nearly a century of American life brought a richness to our studies and our lives that we could never have imagined.
My dad had not been much of a traveler so it was especially fun for her to board airplanes to travel with us to both Florida and California when two of our boys were married. She often remarked how thrilled she was to have “dipped her toes” into both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans! She drove to South Carolina with us for Mollie’s piano recitals and loved the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee along the way. Clay remembers pushing her around in a wheel chair through museums in Chicago, which she hadn’t perused since she had lived there as a young bride during WW2 while my dad attended an army school. She told us how she was forever getting a speck of dust in her eye because the city was truly windy and she joked about her Jewish landlady whose doctor husband was “stepping out on her” and how she called my mom and dad “Moodyites” because they attended worship services at the Moody Church each Sunday!
My mom loved being at home and made amazing oatmeal raisin cookies and incredible rhubarb pies. She canned and froze everything my dad grew in his beloved garden and I always knew spaghetti with her homemade sauce would be waiting for me when I came home on weekends from college. She was a gifted artist who painted with oils on canvas and powdered sugar icing on cookies for the grandkids. She was not one for socializing and always preferred being alone or with just my dad for as long as I can remember. In their later years they planted a plot of Illinois prairie, spending many hours walking along old abandoned railroad tracks, collecting seeds and small plants, cultivating them and hoping to preserve a bit of living history in their backyard. She was a helpmeet for my dad in the truest sense of the word, helping him in business, sharing in his joys and sorrows. When he died, it only made sense to welcome her into our home.
Over the years her health began to deteriorate, especially in the past few months as dementia began to take its toll but we kept on accommodating her needs as well as we could. But even in recent weeks she looked forward to eating dinner around the table with us and loved participating in both our after dinner devotions and prayer time. To the last, just days before she died, she thanked God for the Bible and asked for wisdom for all of us to life lives in obedience to it.
I often wondered how she had adapted so well to our loud and boisterous home, knowing it must have been a challenge for her. One day last summer she said to me, “Karen, you know living in your home has been the happiest time of my life.” As much as she adored my dad, I believe this was true. She is surely missed.
*I had to correct this when Will pointed out to me this morning that it was, indeed, Mussolini who was hanged upside down and not Stalin! Leave it to Will to catch this!
This is her obituary as it will appear in local newspapers this week:
Elizabeth June (Betty) Allen, 90, of 352 W. Elm St., Canton, formerly of Farmington, passed away on Wednesday, April 17th, at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria.
She was born on June 23, 1922 in Minonk, Illinois, the daughter of Nelson James Hewitt and Mary (Wagoner) Hewitt. She married Kenneth Allen on February 7, 1942 in Farmington and was happily married until his death on January 19, 1994.
Survivors include one daughter, Karen Campbell (Clay), Canton, with whom she made her home for the past 19 years, and one sister, Grace Anne Noble (Wild Bill), of Gilbert, Arizona. She also leaves behind 6 grandchildren: Mollie Greene (Aaron) of Greenville, S.C., Clayton Campbell (Stacie) of Bakersfield, CA, Sam Campbell (Janel) of Charleston, S.C., Ben Campbell (Julie) of Nashville TN, Will Campbell and Joe Campbell, both of Canton, and 14 great-grandchildren: Henry, Jude, Lola, and Dot Greene; Penelope, Dowen, and Lucy Campbell; Samuel, Ethan, Vienna, Alexander, and Isaac Campbell, and Jenny and Odette Campbell. She was preceded in death by three brothers: James, Robert, and Paul Hewitt, four sisters: Pearl England, Marie Black, Edith Mingus, and Joy Miller, and one great-grandson, Calvin Campbell.
After graduating from Farmington High School, Betty worked at Caterpillar during WW2 and helped her husband in his hardware store and appliance repair businesses. She loved being a homemaker and was an accomplished oil painter and an avid reader, especially enjoying history and biographies. Her greatest delight was her grandchildren. She spent many years teaching 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school and as a deaconess at the First Baptist Church in Farmington where she was a member for over 80 years. She was a born-again Christian who trusted Jesus Christ and His grace alone for her salvation.
Services will be held on Saturday, April 27th at 10:30 am at the First Baptist Church in Farmington with Pastor Matt Morgan officiating and burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Open Hearts Open Homes Adoption Fund at Bethany Baptist Church, 7422 North Heinz Lane, Edwards, IL 61528.”
Elizabeth June Allen
Just got home after spending the past month with my son and his family and I came home one grandbaby richer! Welcome to the world baby Odette Aliza Campbell! For those keeping score, Odette evened the tally…we now have seven granddaughters and seven grandsons!
Thatmom continues her thoughts on keeping the sparks going in your marriage.
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On this week’s podcast, thatmom encourages couples to keep the sparks alive in their relationship by living purposefully as man and wife in the loveliest of one another relationships. This presentation first aired on the Ultimate Homeschool Expo last year with Felice Gerwitz. Be sure to visit her delightful and encouraging website for lots more homeschooling and relationship encouragement!
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This is the third and final podcast in a series featuring my recent conversation with pro-life activist Seth Gruber.
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Paula’s post on shopping for a church along with the comments as well as some recent emails I have received has prompted me to want to explore this topic further. Yesterday I happened to read through the 9Marks philosophy of church and it left me feeling uneasy. For a long time I have watched as what is considered to be orthodoxy has been increasingly narrowed. In fact, I was surprised to learn that, according to the 9Marks document, my beliefs would be a threat to the very Gospel itself! So, I will leave you with his humorous story by Emo Phillips and open the floor for posting our thoughts on what is and isn’t important in looking for a church home. even if you do not think it is important, I welcome your thoughts.
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”
Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
Jessica and Granddad, please repost your comments so can discuss them, too.
Sent from my iPad
This week’s podcast is the second in a series featuring my recent conversation with pro-life activist Seth Gruber.
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