Raising Godly Tomatoes, by L. Elizabeth Krueger -Chapter One.
In order to gain any help from this book, Krueger makes it clear in Chaper one that you must first understand four particular areas in parenting. Knowing your priorites is first on the list. She says that in order to successfully train your children, you must make them your number one priority. It is also important to understand your personal beliefs in parenting. Krueger says that it is our “God given authority to rule over our children for their good,” and adds that if you don’t believe that statement then you will not gain help from the rest of the book. Thirdly, she believes that you have to be willing to seperate your children from the rest of the world- no spending time with other children outside of the family, no watching television, etc. The fourth part of her list says that you must posess a “. . . willingness to reject worldly parenting theories and adopt biblical principles and godly standards instead.”
I personally did not think I had too much trouble with placing my children as my first priority. In fact, they are my number one concern in life. I have come to realize, though, that what Krueger is saying about making them the number one priority is that it must be number one before everything– they should come before the phone call, before the show I want to watch on television, before making dinner. Obviously this seems a bit far fetched to most of us. It did to me at first, but the more I thought about it, I realized that in most instances I can actually include my children in what I am trying to accomplish. Of course, it may take me longer to get some of these things done, but 1) I can see what they are up to, 2) they are learning something important in regards to taking care of things they should eventually learn to do and, 3) though probably the most important one, is that I will earn such a closer bond with my children that I will be better able to know their hearts so I can in turn train their hearts. As far as the other activities, isn’t it easier to do those things, say, after they go to bed? It is just like prioritizing anything else in life, if you do it correctly, it will all be more enjoyable.
In regards to the view of authority, I do believe that it is my God given authority to discipline my children for their own good. Krueger uses the word rule instead of discipline. I am sure there could be a strong debate that there is a difference between the two, and I think there is. I don’t like to think of myself as ruling over my children. Mabye I need to take more time to soak this idea in, but to me it sounds to harsh. I prefer to use the term discipline. Afterall, the word comes from the word disciple, and isn’t that how Jesus taught? I feel more comfortable disciplining my children.
Perhaps the commitment to Godly separation is that hardest. I do not believe that television is all evil, if it is monitored and limited. It is the other part of seperating that I have a problem with. We are very social people. We have large families on both sides of the family tree in which include other children. We have already made many friends within our community including church. I don’t think that it would be possible or wise for us to change our life so drastically. I think back to the time when we first moved into our new house and I had to meet and get to know new friends all over again. I felt so lonely and depressed. I am certain that God created me to be surrounded by others. With that being said, I do believe that it is possible to let my children socialize and still be the number one influence in their lives. Of course, it will take a lot of effort on my part to pay attention to the interactions that occur and then make sure to intervene. But, I think that these situations can be used as learning examples. Who knows, maybe we could influence a few other children along the way who otherwise would not be taught certain lessons.
I do not have too much trouble with the fourth suggestion. I have read many other psycology based material on raising children. While there have been some ideas that have proved useful along the way, I do believe that the Bible surpasses them all. Their is so much wisdom in the Bible, and if read and incorprated into my life I have no doubt that things will improve. This is probably what I like most about Krueger’s book. There are many quotes from the Bible that support her ideas.
In short, I know Krueger says that these four things have to be lived in order to gain anything out of her book. I believe that there is some room for swaying a little this way or that. The important thing is to be aware of these issues and think hard about how they are effecting our children’s behavior. I am curious to see how our lives change after some of these ideas have been adopted.