Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making Children Obey is a Cinch


So say several popular homeschool pundits and poets. "Just keep applying the pressure until they finally understand who's in charge. They'll obey all right!" And so they will.

He was a good horse with a soft eye and a heart as big as a Montana sky. But by the time I bought Dart he was afraid of all humans; head down, spirit broken, shying if you so much as raised a hand to stroke his neck. He'd been raised with that theory and he had learned to obey. He had learned who was boss. And he had the scars to prove it... a foot long on both sides and as white as bleached bones in the Arizona desert.

When the cinch was tightened down so tight he could no longer breathe or struggle he had become compliant and obedient for the proud rider to show off to all his friends-- the perfectly obedient horse.

But you know, the color never did grow back on his rib cage where that cinch had nearly carved the heart out of him; a cinch so tight it left permanent scars on the outside... and on the inside.

It took a lot of love and a lot of patience for Dart to regain his ability to trust anyone. You see, he had wanted to serve and to please all along. It was in his very nature to partner up and work together. But I guess he wasn't learning fast enough to please his previous owner.

Some of us still have scars from being cinched down too tight. Some visible... but mostly on the inside. And our children are just like us. Yep... making children always obey the first time and every time is a cinch all right- but at what price to their souls... and to ours. At least that's how Boompa sees it.

8 comments:

rachel said...

Wow Steve, thats anology is just awesome. It also makes my heart hurt. Thanks for your timely words.

Rachelmn

Heather said...

Thank you so much for sharing this today...so needed to hear this! I am reading a book this week called Where the Blind Horse Sings...about a animal sanctuary and it is truly heartwrenching to see what these animals have been through and it saddens me so much! Such a good reminder today that our children need our grace so very much...thank you!

wordygirl said...

Beautiful truth here, Steve. Grace always costs the giver...our kids need it the most often when we don't naturally feel like giving it. How thankful I am for grace not deserved, given at great cost.

Michele WV

Heather said...

Thanks for the gentle reminder, Steve! It has taken me years to realize the profound truth in your last statement:

Yep... making children always obey the first time and every time is a cinch all right- but at what price to their souls... and to ours.

Blessings!
~Heather

Beth in FL said...

I found this post to be a great relief, Steve, because I value your opinion and it validates my own feelings on this subject. My husband and I attended a much-admired Christian parenting class that focused on immediate obedience -- or else. I'm happy to say that we didn't stick with it, because in practice it just seems unreasonable and even a little barbaric to expect immediate and complete obedience from a 3-year-old. As Shauna once said on the FIAR boards, do we parents always obey our Father perfectly?

PresleyFamily said...

Thanks so much Steve! I am really encouraged by this. I, too, used to be in the camp of a much-admired Parenting technique. And have recently realized the lack of grace (if nothing else) involved. I have been praying that as I attempt to parent more gracefully, the Lord will heal allow any wounds that I may have caused to come to light, so that we (mostly I) can begin to work to heal those. And He is faithful!

Tammy in Texas said...

Yep... making children always obey the first time and every time is a cinch all right- but at what price to their souls... and to ours.

Profound statement. Three's a lot worth thinking about in those 26 little words.

Tricia said...

Wow, I needed to read that. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.