Today I came across a really interesting blog entry at I'm Just a Girl Telling My Story.
When I was younger, my mother used to have us 'church hop'. Every year, she decided to cycle through a different religion in the Christian realm. One year she was Catholic, then Presbyterian, then Methodist... etc. This drove me insane. It got really bad the year she became a born-again. She became very hypocritical & judgmental (and still is).
Right before I graduated high school and during the first 2 years of college, I really started to lose my faith. I've always had a pretty tough life, being forced to deal with things I shouldn't have had to face until I was much older, but I handled it and I moved on. It got to the point though where I didn't know what to believe anymore. I told my mother this once and she told me I was a sinner and going to hell for questioning God. That's when I reminded her that God loves everyone, even the sinners, and that that's what last repentance is for. Needless to say, she was not thrilled with my answer and we've never spoken about religion since.
The one thing my mother was the most worried about was that I would never teach any of my children about God. Now, while I may not be a firm believer and I don't go to church every Sunday, that doesn't mean I think my kids should follow in my footsteps. The Little Monster may only be 15 months old and we may have only taken her to church once, but we do have children's books about Jesus and praying that we read to her and we do intend to have her baptized and take her to Sunday school.
This leads me back to the blog post I first mentioned. It references Susannah Wesley's 16 Rules of Parenting. There are some of them that I don't agree with and some that I do and I'll tell you why....
1. Eating between meals not allowed.
I disagree. I have never been the type of person to eat 3 set meals a day and the US is like the only country that does this anyway. And in fact, the pediatricians tell you that kids need 3-4 meals per day AND 3-4 snacks a day. Kids stomachs are so much smaller than adults and they need to be filled more often. I actually think everyone should eat 5-6 times per day, but smaller portions. This is how I used to eat and I was the healthiest I had ever been.
2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
Again, I disagree. I don't think that a child should go to bed at any time they want - that's just ridiculous, but a children's sleep schedules are different. My daughter often doesn't fall asleep until closer to 9, but we do start having quiet time around 7:30 or so. We calm down and read a book, take a bath or watch an episode of Sesame Street.
3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.
Why does it have to be without complaining? Some medicine is absolutely disgusting. I agree they need to take it without a fight, but if it tastes nasty, it tastes nasty. I'd complain, too.
4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child's soul.
I half agree with this. I do believe that a child needs to be taught self-control, responsibility and wisdom. To expand of Susannah's rule, she goes on to say "The parent who indulges it does the devil's work, makes religion impossible, salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever." This I don't agree with. I believe a child should be taught to be an independent, free thinker who is capable of making their own decisions. I do not believe that a child should be taught to do everything they're told without questioning. Should a kid listen to their parents? Yes, of course. Should that child do every single thing an adult figure tells them to? No, never. This not only stiffens their creativity and independence, but it stops them from thinking for themselves.
5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
This I agree with - no questions asked. And I agree that they should read the bible as soon as they can read.
6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.
Ehhh, questionable. Everyone should be free to worship in their own way. Should they be silent during a prayer at a meal? Yes, of course.
7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
In most cases, I agree with this. Though if it's something like.... they stole something from the store and then confessed it to me, I would make them return it.
9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
Sometimes you have to give children a little leeway...
10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
Yes, I definitely agree with this.
11. Comment and reward good behavior.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
Definitely, it should be commended and encouraged.
13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
Not necessarily... If I have 2 kids and one has this new toy and the other doesn't, I'm a firm believer that they should share.
14. Strictly observe all promises.
Yes, most definitely.
15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
I disagree. All things need to be taught - from reading to taking out the trash to washing windows to coloring in the lines. Just because they can't read well doesn't mean you shouldn't teach them other things at the same time. And why does this rule only apply to girls? A boy doesn't need to be able to read to do work? That's a little sexist.
16. Teach children to fear the rod.
No, never. I am not a fan of corporal punishment.