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Laughter IS Necessary

It’s been a long time since I last posted. So much has happened. So many ups and downs and all arounds and discouragement and happiness.

And one of the main things I discovered this week was how much laughter helps me be a better, more grace-filled parent. I think I understand a bit  more about why God created some of the things He did. I get it a bit more about how a merry doeth good like medicine. Because for me, being able to laugh until I cry about something just releases a lot of  tension I didn’t know I had. 

In some ways, I think I need to take the time to build in laughter to my day. A little less stressing about needing to feed the villagers and little more time to see the funny.

Parenting By The Spirit~A Review~Chapter One, Part One

As I read it, I decided to go through a chapter a week and really, really study through it, to see where in Scripture she drew her ideas from.

In Chapter One, she shares her story of how she came to talk with God about parenting and what her ideal of parenting is. However, I did not see a whole lot of Scriptural support for her ideals.

Hohnberger laid obedience of a child as the foundational principle for parenting. To say I was shocked is to put it mildly. After all, in my New King James version of the Bible, I had just read that Love was the foundation of God’s character. In Mark 12: 28-34, scribe asks Jesus what the first, or foremost, commandment is. He responds by quoting the Old Testament (Deut 6:4,5 and Lev 19:18) that the greatest commandment is to love God with all you have and to love your neighbor as much as you do yourself.

Ellen White tells us the same thing in The Mount of Blessing, pages 116-117. “With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend something of the length and breadth and depth and height of this love that passeth knowledge. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued, and the sinner is transformed and becomes a child of heaven. God does not employ compulsory measures; love is the agent which He uses to expel sin from the heart. By it He changes pride into humility, and enmity and unbelief into love and faith.”

Nothing in there about obedience being the key principle of life. As we read through the Bible, we discover that out of love, there comes obedience to God’s commandments, but even then, He helps us become like Him, not compels us to become like Him. This is a premise that I will explore later, in another post.

Back to the book.

I will go through this chapter and share my observations on it.

At the beginning, Hohnberger shares a story about her two-year-old son not obeying when she told him to pick up the spilled dog food, even after she spanked him five times. She gets upset as she tries to make him obey, she relates on page 12. I was taken aback by this, as I imagined the scenario taking place in our home. Well, actually, it is a scene that has taken place at our house–not the spanking, but the spilled dog food. 😉 That’s why one of our standing rules is, “If you spill it, clean it up.”

When Sweetness was that age, she spilled the dog food. I went over to her and said, “Okay, let’s pick it up” and picked up a handful and tossed it back into the bowl.

When she didn’t want to do pick some up, I took her hand, made it pick up some food and toss it into the bowl. I then said, “If we spill it, we clean it up. Do you need Mommy to help you more?” For the average two-year-old, having help is a horrid, horrid thing, so she continued to pick up by herself. I picked up the outliers and in a minute or two, all the food was back in bowl. No yelling, no punishment, no repeating myself. Just coming alongside her, at her level, and showing her what I meant. Now, since she is a toddler, I have to repeat and repeat and repeat the lesson when she spills something, but I have to say that nowadays, if she spills something, 8 times out of 10 she picks it up or grabs a towel so that she can clean it up. The other 2 times, I remind her and help her. It’s a principle I learned from here (just as a side note, for babies/early toddlers, skip from step one to step four and add in step two and three as you note your child is developing).

After all, God gave us the 10 Commandments and comes alongside us to help us keep them. Why wouldn’t I help my child obey me?

Parenting By the Spirit Overview

One of the things I love to do is read. And I particularly am interested in parenting books at the moment, for some odd reason. 😉

A book that I’ve heard about time and again in Adventist circles is Parenting by the Spirit, by Sally Hohnberger. I poked around on their website quite a lot, thumbed through one of her books at the ABC and finally, a friend sent me her copy.

So far, I’ve been rather appalled at what I’ve found. A lot of fear, a lot of works-based/behaviorism things, a lot of misunderstanding of basic child development and the God-given design for breastfeeding. Very few verses given, most not cited in context..

Yes, a lot of red flags for me. Not a whole lot of Ellen White stuff either.

I was really taken aback about the insistence of teaching obedience as one of the main calls of parenting. All under the guise of reaching the heart of a child so that they will follow God. Oddly enough, I don’t see that in my version of the Bible (New King James Version, if you’re interested). Rather, I’ve been reading about a God who seeks to draw me into relationship. A God who says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Nothing in there about, “If you keep My commandments, I will love you.”

So I’m going to be going through the book in detail, to outline some of my thoughts and the research (Biblical, EGW and scientific) behind the reasoning.

I’m trying to figure out the best style to do this, so please bear with me.