Heavyhanded Parenting . . .

15 Aug

Ever noticed within the Christian church how many of us are focused on our rights?  On what we feel is our due for our position in life?  On (let’s just say it) our entitlements?  

Sometimes those of us who speak the most loudly about the “entitled generation” have an entitlement mentality that is just as strong only . . . we think we really *have* earned those things we demand from others.  

Respect is a slippery thing.  As is its close cousin, submission.  

The Bible says we owe respect to everyone.  And we are not to sit there waiting for others to go first . . .

Submission is another topic altogether.  The Bible shows us where the lines of submission lie. We are not to add additional ones out of our own personal preference.  

While not an exhaustive list on my part, here are categories for most of the types of submission the Bible addresses:  

1) To the government and its civil authorities (law enforcement officers).

2) To our parents until we are self-supporting and have our own homes.

3) To our husbands, when we are wives.

4) To our pastors and church leadership, as they submit to God and His Word.

I had an interesting debate on Facebook yesterday with some parents who take the second category I just proposed much farther than I ever have, either with my parents while growing up or with my own son now that he is a young adult.  The debate started about courtship vs. dating but quickly revealed that its roots were much deeper than a discussion about one system or another for finding a mate.  It was about having a child in absolute submission until he or she says “I do.”  

I have no idea what these folks do if their offspring remain single for life.  In the case of girls, at least, they appear to want to have the girls live with them, even when they have a career with a living wage and could be on their own.  

I was called “rebellious” for suggesting otherwise.  A rebellious Christian who probably does not submit to my pastor and church leadership either (strangely, the person saying that never checked to see that my pastor doesn’t believe in courtship either.  Ha!).

As the parent of a young adult, I can easily relate to the kind of ungodly control issues against which parents must struggle.  Or I guess some parents don’t struggle against them at all, but merely give in to them and call them by some sort of spiritual label that makes it seem like they love their children more deeply when they micromanage their lives. 

I vehemently objected to that.  I didn’t call it nonsense, but I think it is.  My control issues should not be given a gloss of respectability and spirituality so that I justify having my child in utter submission, lest he make a mistake in life, either in dating or elsewhere.  

You can’t tie a person up in a closet to keep him from making mistakes.  Yes, he won’t make mistakes that way.  But he won’t make any good and wise decisions either. He will remain a forever adolescent.  That is the natural result of such heavyhanded parenting.


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