What if the hardest thing to do is the right thing?
"A child that is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone." -Billy Graham
My wife is amazing. Highly educated, rich heritage and intellect, powerful in her presence and soul. Her gifts and talents, heart and mind are only complimented by her world class, international beauty. Children have been blessed to experience much of her gifting for more than a decade. She is currently listed as the top caregiver in our local city as of the writing of this article by care.com.
I have learned a lot from her and her work, yet I have found one aspect of her work especially fascinating: sleep training.
Sleep training is the concept of conditioning children to have a healthy association with sleep, which ultimately ensures both the child and parents are able to anticipate scheduled rest patterns, and maintain well-needed harmony in the home.
This process can start within a few short weeks of life, which is preferred because the longer this process is delayed, the harder it is to implement. Watching my wife painstakingly spend hours training children and parents with this process has highlighted two main psychological aspects of the parent-child relationship. I am not a professional in this realm, nor do I pretend to be, yet from observation and personal experience I see two major parenting camps, if you will.
Reactionary, Emotional Parenting
I have watched well-meaning parents choose to make their child's feelings the center point of their parenting practices. I watch these parents ensure the most immediate-relief, short-term solutions are given to their children when they are unhappy or uncomfortable; house rules go by the wayside, they buy lavish gifts for their children to maintain happiness, they back down during confrontation and opportunities to correct their children.
The acronym for this type of parent is R.E.P. (Reactionary, Emotional Parenting). This is fitting because this type of parenting promotes a culture of "repetition" in the home, of pushback and challenges from the children that go unchecked. Eventually, such parent-child interactions reap a child who genuinely believes the world will bend to his upsets, in order to accommodate these perceived "needs" of instant gratification.
Holistic, Intelligent Parenting
My wife demonstrates this through concepts such as sleep training, tutoring and IEP support, intentionally utilizing consistent child routines and cross-functional activities (i.e. somatosensory engagement while exercising and playing). Her knowledge base is the center point of her child care approach. This is not to say she is void of emotion toward the children with whom she works, but she does not make it a practice to place her emotions as the driver when engaging with children.
My wife, alongside many parents in this group, equate negative behaviors and values in the child as an ultimate negative in reality. To ensure the best long-term character and competency is fostered in the child, house rules and boundaries are fair and firm. Experiences are used as teachable moments and to build character, discovery is intentionally wielded often to grow the child in all dimensions.
The acronym for this type of parent is H.I.P. Your hip/pelvis is a very important structure in your body, it must work in concert with many other structures to produce a healthy and optimally-functioning "you." These parents realize that to have a healthy child, they must work in concert with knowledge, emotion, spirituality, etc. to successfully grow a competent and well-rounded adult. They are "H.I.P." in that they aim to provide a foundation the child can build on for a lifetime.
In short: Information is given consistently the first few time and from that point forward, the expectation is reinforced so that the healthy child becomes a healthy adult.
In the Christian faith, God is portrayed as a loving parent who allows us to go through uncomfortable situations because ultimately it is best for us. Every other worldview states you are left to earn ultimate peace through striving.
Only in Christianity is love portrayed as a gift of grace.
Only in Christianity is suffering not simply punishment for being human.
Only in Christianity does a perfect parent use your tears and laughter to maximize reality if you will trust and follow.
"Still I Rise"
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may tread me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.