Tuesday, December 02, 2008

You raise your kids and let me raise mine...


Recently I've experienced something I want to talk about here on the blog and just say it like it is and be done with it.

I'm sick of people trying to insinuate how others should raise their kids. I'm not exactly new at this. I've raised one son to 19 years old who is a wonderful young man of God. No, he's not perfect but in my eyes he's darn close. :-) My point is, my children are not going to hell in a handbasket and I didn't start parenting yesterday. I'm not perfect by any stretch, but on the other hand I am not clueless. One thing that I reallllllly hate are holier than thou condescending attitudes when it comes to parenting. The spirit of slap wants to come upon me many times, I must confess.


I'll say first and foremost this isn't happening with anyone (that I know of!) in our church so it's one reason I'm just openly speaking my mind on this. If it were someone in our church Larry would have asked me to have some restraint. Who knows he might ask me to have some restraint after he reads this anyway? But lately I've had a few people question my choices as a parent and I have to admit it made me just a lih-tle uncomfortable!

Have you ever had someone condescendingly ask you why you are letting your kids watch certain TV shows or movies?

Do you have others ask why you are feeding them certain foods without a lot of rules/restraint? (i.e., cookies, pizza, etc.)

Are there those who ask why you are allowing them to have certain drinks without a lot of limits? (i.e. coffee, soda)

Do people question why you are allowing them to participate in certain activities? (school prom, trick or treating, etc.)

How about people asking why you allow them to have a cell phone, or to date?

I do not mind it when someone honestly asks my advice on a matter. It's fine to ask about our household policies or what I have personally found as wisdom for my particular children or family. But I don't believe we are cookie cutters -- I think what works for my child may not work for yours. God speaks to us personally about finding the key to our child's heart and raising each one. In the same way, what is acceptable for my family may not be acceptable for others, and that is fine. For instance, your son may have a very bad reaction to koolaid or soda...mine may not. So don't judge me if I allow mine to have it and I won't judge you that you don't allow yours to have it. Let's parent as the Lord leads us to and not make announcements or judgments about how we do it.

In the last month a few people have criticized me about what I allow my children to do, or what I do with them. There's a lady who works with my eldest son at the movie theater who is a member of another AG church. The other night she saw me come into the movie theater with my daughter. I was excited to come back from Africa and take her on a mom/daughter outing. This woman (who works in the concession stand there) told Dustin that she saw us come in and go to the movie and she felt it was very inappropriate that I was taking my daughter to this PG movie. She made a big deal about it and basically told Dustin she felt it was a sin what we were doing.

I know some Christians still don't believe in going to the movies. Well, I am not one of them. I am not going to criticize somebody else because they don't go, but please keep your comments to yourself that I do. I was raised in an atmosphere where we were never allowed to go to the movies and trust me, it did absolutely nothing for us as far as keeping us from sin. We were no more holy because we didn't go to theaters. In fact many of the kids I grew up with in the church ARE going to hell in a handbasket. It's unfortunate and actually tragic. What drove them away to this horrible backslidden state many are in? Maybe it was all these silly rules that were nothing but a bunch of legalism. I believe it's these sort of attitudes (being told that if Jesus came back while we were in a movie theater he wouldn't be able to find us...HOW STUPID!) that pushed people further away from God and the church than closer to them. I came to realize that Jesus can find us whether we are in a movie theatre, wearing pants or makeup, or drinking a cup of coffee. If somebody's Jesus isn't enough to find them through all that, they aren't serving the same powerful Jesus I am.

All I can say to that is, I hope that lady definitely decides to stay in her other AG church, thank you very much! It really was none of her business, quite truthfully, what I was taking my daughter to see. Two other people asked me about things of the same nature recently, with a very condescending attitude.

Make no mistake, Jesus is coming back! He will find me no matter where I am because I am His child. He will take me to heaven whether I am in church, in a movie theater, or cooking supper. If He holds off a little longer on coming back, I really cannot wait to see what some people's kids turn out to be like. Will all this super protection and forsaking of soda and movies with any kind of "worldly" theme (in some people's eyes) produce perfect children? In my experience, people with very rigid rules for the sake of rules tend to produce kids who are kind of unbalanced later in life and can sometimes really go bonkers. In fact, it's interesting Dustin just told me today that the son of the lady he works with absolutely hates her. And he said, "you know Mom, I think if she were my Mom I would struggle with that too." Interesting. One thing I have always heard is, "rules without relationship lead to rebellion." I also believe rules without a sensible reason lead to rebellion.

When I was a child, I loved coffee and sometimes at church fellowships I would try to sneak a cup. The adults never let us kids drink it because they said it would "stunt our growth." Coffee drinking by kids was strictly forbidden, like it was whiskey or something. I now know that's a load of bunk. Savanna has been drinking coffee with me for YEARS. In fact her Grandpa Shrodes got her started on it when she was just a baby. If you have ever seen my daughter in person you know she is tall. She has been the tallest child in her class every year and no one can ever believe she's is as young as she is when I tell them. So much for stunted growth. No, she does not drink coffee all the time, usually just here and there on special occasions, but we do not make a big deal of it because I believe there is no reason to.

My philosophy as a parent is that when I can say yes, I do -- because we do have to say no to enough things -- why not say yes to things when we can?

As far as my eldest "child" - he is now the age his father was when we got married. He is a young adult - not a child anymore. He chooses his diet and his movies himself and I trust him to do so. My middle son is not far behind...he'll be 18 in three more months. And Savanna...well, she's eleven and I'm just sayin' to all the condescenders out there...you raise your kids, let me raise mine. Do me a favor and don't ask me with that snooty attitude why we are going to a certain movie or buying our 11 year old a latte.

If my kids are going to hate me, I want it to be because I said no to things that really mattered. I refuse to make a mountain out of a molehill with my kids and make an issue out of things that are small in light of eternity.

I think people have too much time on their hands. I have way too much to do to worry about what other people are feeding their kids or what movies they let them watch. My own household is all I can handle and it keeps me busy enough.

15 comments:

Tara Sloan said...

I feel ya... we ran into a little of that recently too. I am desperately trying to keep the attitude of, "You do what is best for your family, and I'll do what is best for mine."

You are right though.. it is not easy sometimes!

Melissa said...

Standing ovation from this side of the computer! You go girl! You just put into words everything I have wanted to say but haven't. We all have to raise our kids with God's wisdom. Each of mine (4) are all different and I have to parent in different ways. I get comments all the time in fact my kids were outside in the cold, in the rain/snow mix have a ball! None had on gloves and one had no hat...I got a call from a concerned neighbor (church member @ that) asking me if I knew my kids were out side that they would get pnemonia. "YES I knew, I sent them out there!" Hello...the cold and wet does not cause infections! Viruses and bacteria do! It was a big deal that night at church...so many comments. Thankfully I am learning the hard way to let them roll...I have been at & past the brink of the "slap down!"
You go girl! I applaud you today! Love ya! and by the way how was the movie....I want to see it too, I like those kinds of movies! (smile)

Toots said...

Aman and hallelujah, I could not agree with you more!!!
I am so sick of people thinking they have a right to tell me what to do with my children because they have choosen to do it with thier children. This parenting thing is hard enough, what we as parents need is a loving and accepting enviroment that we can go to when WE need to not having some one elses views thrown at us!!
Thank you again PD for speaking your mind and not being afraid to put what needs to be said out there!!
Love Ya

Michael said...

Deanna,

All I can say is, you go girl! For those who do not know me, I am a pastor in the A/G and am also a third generation Pentecostal. My heart is grieved over the number of souls we have lost as a movement over stupid, petty, ridiculous man made rules that mean nothing in the spectrum of eternity.

I liken it to when my mom began to wear pants back in the 1950's - 1960's. Her family basically told her she was going to hell. The church would not accept it. Now, it is a challenge to find a lady in a skirt in most of our churches. Ladies in pants was not a sin back then. And, it is not today. But, how many people did we turn away because of it? I fear that we will have more blood on our hands on the day of judgment for what we told people not to do than what we were tolerant of.

The Word tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It tells us to not judge. I am so glad I have discovered that my Jesus is not sitting on the throne with a taser gun waiting to zap us when we mess up.

D, raise your kids in the fear of the Lord. This, I know you are doing. It is nobody's business what you allow your kids to do or not to do. You stand accountable to the Lord for your decisions, not to other men.

I could go on for an eternity on this. But, I will refrain. All I can say is you keep doing what you feel is right in your heart and keep loving those kids while exercising grace and mercy.

Oh, for all the concession stand ladies our there, Jesus told us that the most important thing for us to do was to love Him and love the world. Judging what you do with your kids is His job, not anyone else.

Oceans of love and blessings!

Mike

Sharon said...

I'm giving you a standing ovation!

Encore! Encore!

Anonymous said...

Oh praise HIm...someone is speaking the truth!!! My husband, was constantly prayed over and talked about while his parents were on the mission field... Believe me, I'm glad people were praying for him because much of those prayers got us both where we are today- BUT the judgement and gossip that went along with those prayers is what turned him away from church for a few years! I too struggle with those who look at me with "the eye" as if I'm single handedly sending my kids OR myself to hell-

Something I struggle with is the fact that so many of us AGers wont go into a movie theatre or play cards or what have you because of WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK!!! not because of our own convictions but because of WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK!!! I really struggle not with myself and actions, but with wanting to put the slap down on some folks!!!

Love you for speaking out! I hope you never sensor yourself!

Anonymous said...

So much WORD to this post!!!

When are people going to realize that attacking the way a person raises their kids is completely fruitless? Even BAD parents don't want to be told that what they're doing is wrong. Live and let live - unless, of course, the child is in actual danger!

Michele said...

Everyone else said what I wanted too. I have said it before and say it again- If Marcus turns out as well as your boys I know I have done something right-
Love you

Tami said...

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen - and again AMEN!! I could not have said this better myself! Awesome post sister and I'm so glad you said so many things I have wanted to shout from the mountain top!!
If it's okay with you - I'm gonna give you some props on my blog for this one and direct people your way. There's some people in my life that need to hear this - and maybe they'll get the hint if they read it!
Anyway - thanks for sharing! I appreciate your honesty!

DaNella Auten said...

lol coffie...lol Q just started waking um QM (13) every morning before he goes to work so they can study the bible and drink coffie. It has been a very good thing for BOTH of them.

Deanna Shrodes said...

Wow, this post really struck a chord with quite a few people! I wondered if I was the only one who had these thoughts...I see I'm not.

On another note, thanks Michele...I get tears in my eyes every time you say that! I am so proud of my kids, and I often say...much of how they have turned out is in spite of me, not because of me. I have made a lot of mistakes as a parent however I believe above all else love wins out and I sure do love these kids. :-)

LAURIE said...

I'm a Pastors wife also and I have four PK's. They are not perfect and neither am I. But heres a real eye opener...nobody is perfect!

I am WAY too busy with handling my life that I don't have time handling other peoples lifes. I don't get it?

Loved your honesty on this one....Laurie

Melissa said...

PD- I read this post again and I am posting you as a guest blogger on both of my blogs! More people need to read this! Love ya!

Deanna Shrodes said...

Thanks Melissa, I'm honored...love you more, my friend.

LaDonna said...

Hey Deanna,
Great blog yesterday! I can relate to some of this! My girls drank coffee when they were babies, they'd just help themselves to mine. I'd put lots of cream and sugar in it and they loved it! ha! They've been drinking it eversince. We were raised not to go to the movies, wear pants, go to ballgames or school dances or basically anything fun. Keith and I were dating at 19 the first time we went to a movie. I thought to myself if Jesus comes back I'm going straight to Hell! but in the back of my mind I knew this couldn't be so. That was the year I started wearing pants to church, wearing make-up and even got my ears pierced!!! I guess I really backslid! No, I loved the Lord and was totally dedicated to Him just not man's silly rules and regulations. Our girls went to their proms and homecoming dances. I wanted them to enjoy their high school days and have those memories.

Thanks for the compliment on my blog.
Love you too!