I also saw that theologically speaking the whole idea of a smacking is not congruent with the teaching revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son into the world to save the world so they would not have to suffer for their own sins, but parents today punish their children and make them undergo the horrors of punishment for even the most minor of infractions. The idea of mercy is seemingly not applied at all. When parents' sin, they ask God to forgive them, repent and know they are forgiven. When children sin, they are judged, tried, condemned and punished.
I've tried to teach what I learned all those years in my mother and father's house, all those things I didn't realize I was learning and that I never knew I'd be so grateful for. When you have love and it's proffered every day in a kind of tender, yet stern insistence and even reckless laughter, when it is given to you and you accept it in life as a thing as natural as rain or snow, or the littler of leaves in fall, you can't help but take it for granted. For a bewildered while you incorrectly understand that the world has given you this becuase it's there in equal measure, everywhere. You never knowuntil it's too late to do anything about it, how seet the effort is: how lasting the human will to love can be in the breast of people who want to make it for you, who want to give it to you, without calculating what's in it fo them, without thinking at all of what it will mean when you grow to full adulthood, see the world as it is, and forget to mention what you have been given.Ever day of my grown-up life, I have wanted to do what my parents did. I have wanted to widen the province of love and weaken hate and bitterness in the hearts of my children. And I've done these things because of what I got from my family, all those lovely years when I was growing up, being loved and cherished and, unbeknown to me, and in the best way, honored, for myself.
But I think parents aren't teachers anymore. Parents -- or a whole lot of us, at least -- lead by mouth instead of by example. It seems to me that if a child's hero is their mother or father -- or even better, both of them in tandem -- then the rough road of learning and experience is going to be smoothed some. And every little bit of smoothing helps, in this rough old world that wants children to be miniature adults, devoid of charm and magic and the beauty of innocence.
Dance. Dance for the joy and breath of childhood. Dance for all children, including that child who is still somewhere entombed beneath the responsibility and skepticism of adulthood. Embrace the moment before it escapes from our grasp. For the only promise of childhood, of any childhood, is that it will someday end. And in the end, we must ask ourselves what we have given our children to take its place. And is it enough?
No, Miss Wright didn't want to meet her kid. To her, that relationship was just as important, just as ideal and impossible as it would be to the child. She'd expect that young man to be perfect, smart, and talented, everything to compensate for all the mistakes that she'd made. The whole wasted, unhappy mess of her life.
Everything that isn't gospel is law. Let us say it again: Everything that isn't gospel is law. Every way we try to make our kids good that isn't rooted in the good news of the life, death, ressurection, and assension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law. We won't get the results we want from the law. We'll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both (frequently from the same kid on the same day!). We'll get moralistic kids who are cold and hypocritical and who look down on others (and could easily become Mormons), or you'll get teens who are rebellious and self-indulgent and who can't wait to get out of the house. We have to remember that in the life of our unregenerate children, the law is given for one reason only: to crush their self-confidence and drive them to Christ.
We do children an enormous disservice when we assume that they cannot appreciate anything beyond drive through fare and nutritionally marginal, kid-targeted convenience foods. Our children are capable of consuming something that grew in a garden or on a tree and never saw a deep fryer. They are capable of making it through diner at a sit-down restaurant with tablecloths and no climbing equipment. Children deserve quality nourishment.