The big thing among young parents today is their reliance on systems of parenting. This is kind of a new thing. We have "Peaceful Parenting" for people who do not want to spank children (as if what parents wished were true mattered). We have "Growing Kids God's Way" which promises small group lessons to teach us "How to help children internalize virtues and values and practically live out the character of God in their life." Yeah, that is exactly how my parents thought when I was small. Not.

We have "Nurturing God's Way," which is apparently different from "Growing Kids God's Way." We have, as well, lots of suggestions from books galore, almost as bad as diet books in how quickly they spring up and die out. We are told to schedule and not to schedule, to punish and not to punish (Peaceful Parenting apparently likes to discuss their sins with them in a logical fashion). We are told to be tough and not to be tough. We are told dozens of things by dozens of people, all of whom want our money and none of whom know our children. 

Settle down and take a breath. 

Parenting is not about conferences or seminars or books. My parents never attended a conference or read a book on parenting (as far as I know), they just raised their children. Your grandparents did not read books on how to be parents, they were parents by the fact that they had children to raise. Your great-grandparents never read books on parenting. In the entire history of the world, no one had a theory of parenting until it became cheap to publish books. 

Parenting is a natural thing that people have always done and, frankly, have always done pretty well. It is our fear that makes us subject to the whims of people like the Ezzo's, leading to them becoming wealthy and us becoming automatons applying rules to our family lives that someone else made up.

We live in a world of fear. We are afraid of being parents. We are afraid of making mistakes. We do not trust God or His Word, we want the Ezzo's or Bill Gothard or Jim Dobson to tell us what to do.  

Reading books about marriage never gave anyone a happy marriage. Reading books about parenting never made anyone a good parent. Parenting is an act of love, toward God and toward your children, and it can be done without timelines and checklists and rules made by people who do not know you or your children. 

Parenting ought to be a pleasure (sometimes), not a duty obeyed by following a book of rules. 


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