“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
A blogger for the Huffington Post recently bloviated about how she wants her young boys to see her naked. While I don't condemn her intentions, I seriously question her methods. It is more than an accidental exposer, it is more like flaunting. There is another story regarding running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. This second example is difficult, I am a Vikings fan and an Adrian Peterson fan. Peterson has been rightly charged with child abuse for the punishment of his kid. I will not recount the details here, but the physical damage was significant. My own personal story involves spankings that in todays world would likely be considered abuse. I was never harmed in the same way that Peterson's son was, I don't recall having any kind of significant injury, but I am certain that my but was very sore on numerous occasions. It was common for my spankings to include belts, paddles, hangers, kitchen spoons, and probably other objects.
It is very important to judge what is right when it comes to parenting, but it is not as easy as you might think. Before you judge, let's consider several factors:
We should also consider Scripture. Parents should not spare the rod, punishment is essential (Prov. 13:24). Parents should not exasperate their children either (Eph. 6:4). While there are no guarantees, parents need to train their children for life and generally speaking, they will follow it (Prov. 22:6). We are to pass on our faith to our children and teach them (Duet. 6:4 ff). Discipline helps children, it is good for them and it gives them hope (Prov. 19:18; 22:15). In all our discipline, it must always be for the good of the child, to give them hope and not to discourage them (Col. 3:21).
In the end, Both the stories I mentioned at the beginning are discouraging. In both cases the intent of the parent seems to be good, but the methods also seem to be harmful. This mom may be creating unhealthy perspectives for her kids and Peterson is causing physical harm to his kids. Perhaps grace and retraining are more appropriate in these cases. My prayer is the Peterson can get through this and find some people who will mentor him regarding his parenting. My prayer for this mom is that she will begin to cover up sooner rather than later and find other more appropriate ways to communicate the intended message to her boys at a more appropriate age.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.