Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Child Raising

"…train up a child in the way he should go…" -Proverbs 22:6 There are countless books, manuals and DVD's on "how to properly raise a child". While most of the the authors and speakers are sharing truth and wisdom, the instructions can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and simplistic. While we need to be open to wise Godly counsel and advice, parents don't need to panic. God is in control and if we seek Him first, He brings the peace and wisdom we need. I've been to Africa a couple of times, and both times I observed several differences in families there and here in America. One glaring difference that stood out is the focus on kids. In most of the world, kids are not number one. Here in the U.S., they have become the focus. Certainly we don't need to neglect our kids, but we don't need to treat them as kings and queens either. The kid obsession has produced a focus on "kid advice" in America. Scripture points out the necessity of wisdom gained in "abundance of counselors" (Prov. 15:22), but how many is enough? Exactly how many professionals does it take to raise a child? I was reading an article in a magazine that listed the mirage of new professions focused on kids. It's hard to believe that 100 years ago, Professional Counselors and Consultants hardly existed. And while Doctors and Counselors have provided much needed care, when does the care go too far? A Baby Whisperer is a "Certified Child Sleep Consultant". They cost between $50-$350 per hour. They examine a baby's napping and nighttime schedule. A Sensory Communicator is a "Certified Infant Massage Instructor". They cost between $25-$100 per hour. They teach parents how to massage their babies, intended to promote attachment and well-being. A Supportive Foodie is a "Certified Nutrition Consultant". They cost between $40-$100 per hour. They share the children's diet and devise healthy recipes and personalized eating plans. A Greenproofer is a "Certified Maternity Eco-Consultant". They cost between $40-$80 per hour. They help minimize potentially toxic substances in the home. They recommend diapers, bath products, cleaning supplies, and nursery décor and can test indoor air quality. Asa was one of the many kings of Judah and reigned 41 years (a record for most kings in the Old Testament). Scripture says he followed God and rooted out idol worship during his reign. But at the end of his life, he got a foot disease and an interesting thing happened: he sought advice and it killed him - sort of. Second Chronicles 16:12-13 explains, " in the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa slept with his fathers, having died in the forty-first year of his reign." A foot disease? Hardly seems like enough to kill someone. After all, a Hebrew "foot consultant" probably suggested to Asa to "sprinkle a little talcum powder on it and all will be well". For whatever reason, Asa didn't go to God with his problem first. Instead, he went to the experts on foot disease. Is there anything wrong with going to doctors and counselors? Of course not. They're trained to help. But we have to remember to go to the Great Physician and Counselor first, not to every "expert" in the field of raising children. He might choose to heal outright or he might work through those professionals to bring the healing. Either way, God is at work growing our kids. And giving us the wisdom to parent His way. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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