I absolutely believe...

In a world where having absolute beliefs is becoming as taboo as witchcraft in the 1600's, I find myself in a constant state of "Really?" (think Seth Meyers and Amy Pohler on Weekend Update).  And while I realize and even understand why it's appealing to exist in this life without a definitive set of standards by which we measure right and wrong and strive to obtain the former, I'm going to take a hard line here and just say what's on my heart.

All that "gray area" - It's wrong

I believe in right and wrong.  I believe that there is good and that there is evil.  And I even believe that evil dominates.  I believe that we are innately "bad" from the day we are born.  We are, from birth, born to rebel against good.

Those are absolutes.

I believe in absolutes.

I believe in the saving grace of a sinless Savior who came and died on the cross by accepting a punishment so severe and gut-wrenching it caused him to sweat blood from the anxiety...all so that we, each and every one of us, would not have to experience the same wrath from God that we so very much deserve.

I believe that, as parents, we are duty-bound to teach our children by first setting a proper example by living the way we want them to live and secondly by disciplining them.  Even when it's hard.  Especially when it's hardest. 

I believe that punishing our children for wrong-doing is not just appropriate, but necessary.  Consequences aren't always sunshine and roses. 

I believe that by exclusively praising our children and ignoring their bad behavior we are creating monsters -   self-centered, self-righteous monsters who have no reason to believe that the earth revolves around anyone but them because that's what they've been made to think their entire lives.  We don't need to tear them down, but it's also not productive to only build them up.

I believe that the only way to raise children who will grow up to be selfless is to remind them that they are a very small part of a whole.  And then to remind them that they are loved, so very loved - by their parents and their Heavenly Father, in spite of the fact that they are but one tiny part of a humongous whole.  Because, no matter what tiny part they play, it's a vital one.  We are all a part of the body of Christ - maybe he's a leg and she's a hand and that guy is one of the ears and you're the brain.  Separately they're worth almost nothing but together - man, they can move mountains.

I believe that manners should be taught first by example and secondly, if necessary, by force.  What is important is that they are taught.  Manners are not a dying art.  They are a disregarded courtesy.  Courtesies in general have died because we have shifted from a culture of respect to a culture of self.

I believe that even though it seems like the nice guys finish last, some day, they will be rewarded - even if it's not on this earth.  But then that reward will be more than imaginable and more than worth it.  The hard part is teaching our kids to do the right thing when there is no visible reward and the wrongdoers are the ones who seem to be getting ahead. 

I believe that by giving our children everything they want we are depriving them of the lesson that you have to work for what you need.  Self-control is a fruit of the spirit and to exercise it is to exemplify Christ - whether with finances, speech, remaining faithful to our partner, our ability to quell an angry reaction...whatever.

I believe that every mistake we make is a learning opportunity.  But first we have to be allowed to make them.  If the mistake affects someone else besides ourselves, we have an extra opportunity to learn - because we get to humble ourselves, admit fault, and ask for forgiveness.  You know...do the right thing.

I believe that waiting in lines is one of the few opportunities in our instantaneous world that we have anymore to learn and practice patience.  The people in front of us in line aren't for trampling on or passing.  They are to be waited for.  And at the very least, when we witness people trampling on others in front of them - that is yet another teaching moment for our kids.  As in, "Never do that."

I believe that our children need guidance from strong parents who are willing to take a stand against gray areas, "It is what it is" post-modern thinking, and self-centeredness.  There is hope.  Our future depends on it.

This has been a soapbox post.  I would ordinarily apologize, but today, I just don't want to.  

I plead with you - just try to put other people first.  We're all selfish.  But we should at least try not to be.

And while we're at it, let's try to use our common sense too. 

Have a blessed weekend, guys.


Katie J said...

I believe you are an amazing woman, who has a solid foundation and is doing an amazing job raising 3 quirky, adorable kids! I also believe you have a wonderful, strong partner in life and that is pretty awesome!
My favorite part of the whole post is that you did not apoligize! You shouldn't.

CLewis said...

Thank you for willing to say what so many people won't. Taking a stand for what you believe, living what you believe, is going to impact each and every person you come in contact with in a way they may never be able to understand. I agree with you wholeheartedly (no apologies here either!).

Diane said...

I am curious enough to ask what motivated your post today. I cannot agree with your sentiments, although I suspect that I'm in the minority of your readers.

Parents guide, influence, help, and model the right behaviors - or at least we try. It is the child's choice on whether (or how) he or she will adopt them. You cannot force it, legislate it, or guilt them into it.

As for the grey area - perhaps you would have the same opinions had you been born into a different culture, a different age, or a different family. But perhaps not. The point is that our environment shapes our morality - what we choose as right or wrong.

I respect your opinion, Jennie. But I respectfully disagree.

Jennie said...

Diane, it's not a single thing that influenced me to write this, but rather a lot of random things that altogether I've pent up for a while. I witness so many children without any guidance or boundaries, and it is *really* tough to try to raise good kids in a world like this.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that children have the choice to rebel against their parents. The most "perfect" parents might well end up with terrible children. I believe that is because of our propensity to do the wrong thing. In fact, that's biblical as well. The story of Samuel, who was as righteous a person as any, ended up with two completely unworthy sons to carry on his position as judge. It happens.

We are each accountable for our own decisions. I agree. BUT - I believe that allowing children to choose whether or not they will use their manners (for example) because ultimately I have no control over whether they will end up using them is a common cop out that parents use these days. I believe it is the parent's job to guide, influence, help, and model - but so many simply aren't. I would like to see kids given a fighting chance by having parents worth emulating. Idealistic, maybe. It's just what *I* believe. I'm certain you are not the lone dissenter.

I think the gray area is probably what will strike a nerve with most of the dissenters. I don't claim to be perfect, and I know I choose poorly quite often...daily...continuously...but that doesn't change the fact that I do believe there is a right and a wrong choice in every single situation.

Thanks for your opinion, as always! And thanks for reading. ;)

Cara R. said...

Thanks for blogging this! Wonderful! I wish more parents thought as you did :)

Debbie said...

I believe you just earned an "Amen". If you do decide to pursue that transition career you mentioned, you will most likely feel even more strongly about this.

I just wrote a bunch more and deleted it. No need. You said it all perfectly.

Sharon Kirby said...

You can stand on that "soap box" and say it ALL DAY, sister!

I was fist-pumping out here in California! A courageous post, and one which is SO needed. I'm not sure how much of a difference there is between Georgia and California - but where I live, ENTITLEMENT is the name of the game. My sons went to school with kids who got Mercedes and BMW's on their 16th birthdays. I am appalled at the general rudeness of our culture. So, THANK YOU for mentioning that, too.

ABSOLUTE truth is absolutely true - and you have done well to speak your mind about it.


Denise said...

Great post! I'm standing on that soapbox with you! The best thing to say is AMEN and AMEN!

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