Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Name the Twos

Had to scold Daniel this morning.  Again.  I would not call this the terrible twos although he is definitely testing his boundaries.  Every time he crosses a line and disobeys us, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the Good News.  What a privilege!

Disobedience is usually followed by a warning and then a spank on the bum/2 minute time out if he repeats the offense.  But what a beautiful thing it is afterward to be able to sit and talk him through what just happened.  

Our neighbor has a support beam under their deck that is about a centimeter too short.  It swings free.  (thank the builders for that one)  It just got discovered (during the episode of the great burning bush) and is getting taken care of...but Daniel was pushing on it this morning.  Sarah told him to stop and not to do that again.  Well he did.  Spank.  Time Out. Tears. Dejection. 

When I spoke to him about what happened he told me that he wanted to push the beam.  I heard words of Truth for my own life come out of my mouth as I said, "Sometimes we have to obey even when we don't understand why."  How often has God led me down a path I didn't like, and I grumbled about it?  Or fought in the opposite direction like Jonah?  Too often.  

I asked Daniel once today (different infraction) if he knew why he got spanked.  
   "Is a con-se-kense," he whimpered. 
   "Yes, buddy, it's a consequence for not obeying."
   "Daniel need tell Mommy sorry."
   "That would be very nice to do."

He's two.  But it's not terrible, it's wonderful.  Lessons of sin and grace and consequence and unconditional forgiveness are happening every day all around him...and TO him!  He's already told me, "Jesus have ow-ee on hands and toes" and "Jesus died on cross so I can go Heaven"  and two nights ago he had a dream that Jesus was in his room and called him over and Daniel gave him a big hug.  :D   I don't know what God is doing in my little boy's life, but I'm grateful that He is. 

Take the time to see the Gospel at work in your everyday lives, whether it's your kids or your own. 


Pam said...

Oh my, did that one bring a tear to my eye. My son is almost 15 and he still amazes me to this day.
He knows when his actions are wrong and chooses to accept the consequences. We are still working on so much.
Congrats on raising a wonderful young man!

gabyyyyy. said...

lovely blog Aaron. i love it! how precious to begin to teach your son the lessons of forgiveness, grace and obedience before he's actually out and about in the world. One day, he will thank you :] just like we thank our lovely Father in Heaven for the things we don't understand... both when we do and don't understand. it's so beautiful.
may God continue to bless your family dearly.

Anonymous said...

You've only just begun to see God (and learn lessons of Him) through your children! Since my kids have come along I have come to re-look at the Scripture from the whole "God as Father" perspective and it has really bent my (admittedly still nascent so still quite pliable) theology. It certainly helps me answer the "Why would He do that?" questions that come up at times. And yet, as much as we love our kids, and as much as we would do for them if we could, it does not measure up to His love for us, it's just the best we humans can muster as an example.

A lot of people, even (especially) Christians, miss how God works in our lives on a daily basis. We get caught looking for the big, missing the small. Putting off coincidences as mere coincidences. I could bore you with the long list of "coincidences" that got us from the Rochester no-show to the Erie show and the additional blessings that were poured upon me from that "trip," but suffice it to say I saw God's work in that, and I thank Him for that.

But yeah, some of the biggest lessons come from the littlest people. Amen, brother.

Julia said...

That is just about the sweetest thing ever! What a privileged to watch D. grow up to learn all the different aspects of Gods character.

Pokinatcha said...

I've been a parent over 20 years now. I've seen the hand of God at work in my children's lives especially after we adopted 3 of our 7 kids. I've seen an angry little boy change so much with consistency, love, discipleship and most importantly a whole lot of prayers from many people. It's been an amazing journey to be on!

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Good job, Dad.

Anni said...

That Jesus dream rocks!

Name: Kami Melton said...

Hey Aaron,
Been a looong time since Toccoa. Congrats on your family and...well...everything! Daniel is incredibly cute (almost as cute as my daughter, but I'm a little prjudiced). :)

Tessa said...

Thank you for that - we have 3 very rambunctious little guys and sometimes I feel like I miss the opportunity to correct them and lead them in the right way. I really enjoyed reading this and hope that I can learn from your example! God is doing wonderful things through each of you!

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

"Is a con-se-kense," he whimpered.

L-u-v it. Even the little people at two get it. It's so hard to teach con-se-kense to my TJ 'cuz there are always big crocodile tears and really sad faces. But, my kisses dry them up and we get closer each time.

Just stumbled on your blog, as I wrote up a post, spotlighting you on FaithBarista.com

You're the featured Worship Smoothie of this week, Aaron. Please come by and say hello ;)

Thanks for your songs.

WyoGal said...

My two year old is on a "Jesus kick" lately. She wants to sing about him, dance for him... anything. She keeps saying, "He's coming back... Jesus!... He's coming back.." THIS IS COMPLETELY UNPROMTED. I agree, Aaron, the "terrible" two's are terribly awesome!

Bina said...

That is beautiful - not only your willingness to be his "God with skin on" example of love, but also that he obviously knows right from wrong and has a beautiful heart from it! :)

Gentle Spirit said...

Discipline and guidance are wonderful, but what is even more wonderful is that in most cases, this can be done without hitting a child.

We should ask ourselves, despite what might seem "normal" ... is spanking our children what Jesus would want us to do? Where is the grace? The shepherd "guided" his sheep with the "rod of correction." He didn't hit them with it. So too shouldn't we lovingly "guide" our children? Discipline = guidance. It doesn't have to equal a spanking. Spanking might be easier, but it’s not always best.

If you do believe in spanking, I hope you'll consider something else after your child reaches the age of 5. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family explains this in more detail on his website.

Most parents spank with good intentions, and I respect them for wanting to raise respectable children, but I hope some folks reading here will think independently on this issue and consider a different approach. There are websites on gentle, Christian, discipline that can help. Children often "calm down" and home relations are often greatly improved when spanking is removed as a form of discipline. Please consider it! Blessings to all. :)

Gentle Spirit said...

I found a great article from Christianity Today that talks of a different viewpoint to spanking. A Christian mom found that when she herself researched to see what the bible really had to say about spanking, she was surprised by what she found. The article can be found here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/momsense/2003/summer/6.50.html?start=1.

Note: When thoroughly researching issues like these in the bible, a literal translation (such an an ESV, NASB, etc) must be used, "not" a paraphrase (The Message, Living, NIV, etc). When reading a paraphrase, you are reading the author's "opinion" of what he feels a verse means. Go to the source... go to the "original" words translated word by word from ancient Hebrew and Greek, and then "you" decide what you think the meaning is. The ESV is my top pick. :)

Aaron Shust said...

thanks GS.

It makes me sad that you may think i hit my children. As I stand before God, I believe I'm doing them good, as the spankings I received as a child did me a world of good.

I also enjoy reading the Message Paraphrase, not believing it as the word for word original, but hopefully containing the spirit God intended (as Eugene Peterson is a Heb/Greek scholar) it allows me to see Truth from a facet or angle I may not have before, growing up on the NIV..But if the ESV and the NASV are the literal word for word translations, why are they different from each other? Which is closer? and if it's a matter of 'closeness', then they both miss perfection. Even the authors personal writing styles come into play, so there appears to be a human element involved even in the original Heb/Greek.

I believe the Holy Spirit guides our spirits, with the Word as our guide, and I certainly agree that we should study and consider other opinions on how to better walk this journey that we find ourselves on.

All for His glory of course. :)

Gentle Spirit said...

Aaron (and others), thank you for reading my post. :) I know most Christian parents who spank are doing so with the best of intentions. It’s a controversial topic. I am not here to judge – just hoping to give another perspective from God’s word. :)

For anyone interested in further study on this, links, forums, books, etc., please see: http://parentingfreedom.com/discipline/ for a thorough, Christian perspective.

Up until the 21st century, it was legal for men to beat their wives. They thought it was biblical! The faulty thinking wasn’t seen until strong women stood up for their rights. Is it possible that pro-spankers might be using the same reasoning/thinking that men used back then? Something to think about.

I was spanked in a loving, Christian home. My parents weren't abusive, but the spankings harmed me emotionally. In my child’s mind, I honestly felt my parents were physically “damaging” me. Very confusing. I love my parents and have forgiven them, but I wish they had searched the scriptures for themselves instead of just accepting the popular, Christian thought of the day.

I have seen kids play the role of parent and “spank” each other, or their dolls, during playtime. Is this their way of trying to make the practice seem “normal” by playing it out? Are they venting their anger about it, or pretending to be “powerful,” like their parents, when they spank their dolls?

Spanking teaches “fear” not “respect.” This can quickly lead to anger, then rebellion, depression, etc.

I know a lot of families who raised wonderful people without spanking. Note to pro-spankers: Children over age 5 or those with ADHD should not be spanked. See: www.family.org

Spanking gets quick results, but the opportunity to lovingly teach and guide with grace can be lost. Do you think Jesus would say to spank? Please see these verses: http://parentingfreedom.com/verses-discipline/

Scripture can easily become distorted when one doesn't seek the original meanings. It is true that some literal translations do have slightly different wording. However, it makes sense, because sometimes there is more than one English word that can represent the meaning of a Hebraic or Greek word, and normally, this is noted in footnotes at the bottom. No bible is perfect of course, and as for the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures, I believe those are perfect and inspired by God. I encourage everyone to look into the ESV as an excellent literal translation. It was put together by a large group of experts and is recommended by many well known in Christian circles. Introductory video: http://www.esv.org/about/video.intro

My next post explains more of the actual meaning of the scriptures so many think mean to spank.

Gentle Spirit said...

If we literally applied the OT, a good majority of us would have already been stoned!! The OT even said to kill a disobedient child! Deuteronomy 21:18-21

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” Proverbs 23:13,14 Why do parents, if wanting to be literal, not spank with a shepherd’s rod, or shebet, which today means a large walking stick? Why do we choose to follow so adamantly these few versus in Proverbs that we somehow believe imply to spank a child? As for the rod mentioned…“thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” A shepherd lovingly guides his sheep with a rod.

The following excerpts explain further:

”…The shebet can be used to kill.. while at the same time in our rod verses, it says it is impossible for the shebet to kill [see Proverbs verse above].. What about the many times throughout history that parents have beaten their children to death with or without a rod? As commented by the author of Biblical Parenting, In the original language the word…‘punish’ is actually ‘beat’.. the same ‘beat’ as in ‘the sun beat down on Jonah’ and means a constant presence…of authority. (3) http://aolff.com/?page_id=93

If beating a child with a literal rod can save his soul, then why did Christ have to die? “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:21

In regard to parenting, the shebet … According to the author of Biblical Parenting, “The rod of authority was never used to strike those under the person’s authority but, instead… to discipline (teach)... For someone to spare their authority to properly discipline their child would be for them to hate them.” (5)

…The fact is, the Rabbis understood this passage to underscore the grave importance of parents picking up the rod of authority and properly disciplining (teaching) and chastising (verbally correcting) their children.” (6)

Since Proverbs is a poetic book of wisdom sayings and imagery, it contains many similes, metaphors, and hyperboles. It is easy to see the hyperbole in this example: “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” Proverbs 23:1-2 In this example, I understand that it is wise to not eat too much. It is not a command to slit my throat. And when I read the rod verses, I learn it is wise to discipline (teach) my child. It is not a command to beat my child.”

Gentle Spirit said...

I'll try again. :) I don't think people who spank are bad parents. I do wonder though if they've given the topic much thought or research of their own, and from other perspectives. I don't think it's required, as a Christian parent, to spank. I was spanked in a loving, Christian home. The spankings caused me much confusion and emotional pain.

Spanking can teach fear (and anger) rather than respect. My brother was spanked often as a child for lying. He only became more rebellious. Don't we want our children to obey out of love, rather than fear?

I encourage everyone to reflect on the bible verses at this the following link: http://parentingfreedom.com/verses-discipline/.
Do the verses go along with spanking?

Would Jesus recommend a parent to spank a child?

Many practices of the OT are not followed today by Christians, such as stoning an adulteress. Why do so many follow verses that the think mean a parent should spank?

To learn more about what the bible "really" says about those supposedly pro-spanking verses, please see the following link, and scroll down to "Is Spanking Really in the Bible?" http://parentingfreedom.com/discipline/ It's quite interesting. :)

As for literal translations, it is true that some literal translations are slightly worded different. However, I believe this occurs because sometimes there is more than one English word that can represent the meaning of a Hebraic or Greek word, and normally, other possible meanings are noted in footnotes at the bottom. No bible is perfect of course, and as for the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures, I believe those are perfect and inspired by God. I encourage everyone to look into the ESV (English Standard Version) as an excellent literal translation. Many popular churches have made it their bible of choice. Here is an excellent introductory video: http://www.esv.org/about/video.intro

Best of luck to all, and I wish all parents and their children a house full of love. :)

A few verses to ponder....

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 ESV (Discipline as in guidance and teaching right from wrong).

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Colossians 3:21 ESV
(I know for a fact that being spanked, abusively or not, has turned some children away from Christianity. I for one doubted my faith because of it, until I learned the truth).

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 NIV