I’m a “Parenting Expert,” and So Are You…

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/parenting-experts-agree-kelly-clarksons-view-spanking-210541633.html?.tsrc=fauxdal

This.

Is.

National.

News.

WHY, people?!?!?!

A mom, who happens to be a celebrity, is disciplining her child in order to prevent said child from hurting herself or from behaving badly, or basically from growing up to be a narcissistic sociopath.  WHY IS THIS NEWS?!?  WHY IS THIS NATIONAL NEWS???

Last night, I watched a Facebook Live video of Elliott Davis of Fox2News outside of a local homeless shelter that was turning people away on a fairly chilly evening. A young woman discussed how she’d been turned away repeatedly from shelters, as she was neither a mother nor a “currently”-battered woman. THIS is news. Our city and our mayor decided that apartment property values meant more than helping the homeless, and shut down the only 24-hour shelter in the city. THIS is news.

I read an article where a 5-year old child is dying of a rare cancer, with a picture of her grieving grandfather next to her hospital bed. THIS is news.

Kelly Clarkson, mother of 2, stepmother of 2, sweet Southern girl, OG American Idol, helluva singer, and wife to the son of none-other-than Ms. Reba McEntire, is NOT news because she chooses to discipline her child. She is NOT news because she (& presumably her husband) choose to raise their child according to Biblical principles, to classical principles of “sparing the rod and spoiling the child.” She is NOT news because she & her spouse would rather not add to the national malaise surrounding parenthood, where we rely on teachers to play doctor and dole out prescriptions, and tablets and video games to play teacher so our kids learn to read. She is NOT news because she takes a normal, everyday Midwestern/Southern approach to raising her child as hands-on as possible as a working mother, and in making the tough decisions to PARENT as opposed to beFRIENDing her child. (Sidebar: I’m not knocking children that legitimately require medication in order to succeed physically or academically. I, however, do not believe in the increasing practice of teachers having to be the ones who “diagnose” a child’s need for such medication. A parent that is involved in their child’s life is aware of any issues and takes care of their kid. I see many, many children that do not have an involved parent, and THAT is pathetic. Teachers are not doctors, and they’re not parents, yet in today’s world, they have to be both. It’s not right.)

It’s easier to be our kids’ friends…until it’s not, and we realize we’ve screwed it all up & created pandering little narcissistic snowflakes that can’t be disciplined enough to do their homework OR TO HOLD DOWN A JOB.  And then, when our little snowflakes do something stupid, like publish videos of people who commit suicide in Japanese forests, and become national embarrassments like Logan Paul? Then THEY become National News.

People are really skewed on what “news” actually is. Mr. Trump keeps hammering away at the slogan, “fake news,” and he’s got a point: When the news media would rather focus on nonsensical stories such as Ms. Clarkson and her decision to properly raise her child, instead of on major issues such as homelessness, or drug addiction, or the suicide rates in our young people, then we really do have an issue with “fake news,” and it needs to change. There are much bigger issues in the world.

There are parents in the news on an almost-daily basis for abusing their children….for abandoning their children…for choosing drugs over their children.

That’s news.

Swatting or spanking your child because they’ve been disobedient?

NOT news.

I love how this article talks about “parenting experts.” I posted on Facebook that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “PARENTING EXPERT.” They’re like, NONEXISTENT. I’m going to run full-on into a flippin’ UNICORN before I run into someone I consider to be a “parenting expert.” Every parent is different. Every CHILD is different. Until you can tell me you’ve mastered every possible personality and interaction, don’t call yourself any kind of “expert” on this race we call human, unless you’re the One Who created us all.

You can study kids all you want. You can study adults all you want. You can study the kids until they grow up to become adults, and then you can study them some more. You’re not any more of a “parenting expert” than I am. We know what WE KNOW. We don’t know all of the variables that make us, or that make our child, or that make other people’s children, who they are. I think I know my kiddo pretty darn well. However, I can’t tell you WHY he does some of the things he does (Why does he lick the shopping cart?!?!?!?  WHY?!?!? Can you tell me that, “Parenting Expert?!?!?”). I can tell you what I think, what I see, and how I want to attempt to change what he does. I can try every method I know, and occasionally, I can ask my friends or read a book to get advice. I can tell you that I definitely pray every single day to be a better parent, but I make mistakes, as does my husband. Tempers run short, and days can be stressful. Sometimes, the noise level in my house makes me want to rip my ears off (and that’s with just ONE KID). We are all constantly in the process of learning how to live, and of learning how to be better human beings.

I am grateful for people like Kelly Clarkson who discipline their children and help shape them into better little people, that will eventually become better adults that can make this a better world….and THAT is NEWS.

Discipline is so important. We don’t spank our children in anger–that’s where spanking becomes reactive, and potentially abusive. In our house, there’s a lead-up: Redirection–>Warning–>Time Out–>Spanking. Generally, that’s how it goes, unless he’s doing something that will cause him imminent harm (taking off in a parking lot, which he knows is a HUGE no-no). I kind of think of discipline as a labyrinth game–you remember, the one that had the maze you had to use the knobs on, to get your marble through the maze without letting it fall through the holes? Image result for labyrinth game

That’s life. We have this little marble, and we have to mold and shape and direct him to go through life without falling through the holes. We have to set up barriers to keep him safe, and create paths for him to go through, and pick him back up again, if he falls through. Those barriers and paths are created by discipline and by encouragement, and we have to commit to it. We have to be consistent in it, which is hard when you’re a tired, working parent. We have to be disciplined to maintain discipline, and it makes everyone in the house a better person…

But it’s not easy.

Like I said before, it’s easier to be your kid’s friend, especially at this age. They’re fun when they’re in a good mood, right? And when they go in Time-Out, or get that spanking, they get crabby and whiny, right? And whining SUCKS. But what do we do? Give them whatever they want, and feed the snowflake mentality? We have a generation of kids that can’t take the heat of discipline. They can’t take the barriers, and all they want is encouragement…they’ve fallen through the holes of the labyrinth board, and they’re LOST. It’s the saddest thing, but hey, at least they’ve got their participation trophies, right?

Stop it.

My son doesn’t get what he wants all of the time. Money is tight, and that’s a good reason to tell him “no” on a material level. He should get used to not getting what things he wants, because that creates financial issues. He keeps screaming at people when he doesn’t get his way. That doesn’t work for me. He’s spending a lot of time in a corner, and he’s getting privileges taken away. At some point, it’s going to stick, but we have to be consistent with it. “Son, you can’t scream at people when you don’t get your way.” Every day for the last 4 days, I’ve had to remind him. Every day this week, he’s had something taken away for his behavior at school. I remind myself that we’ll get there, eventually. He’s 4. Every day, there is discipline. Every day, we discuss what happened, what he did well, and what he can improve on.

We are making an adult that will have a global impact.

Every parent is making an adult that will have a global impact.

My goal as a parent is to direct my beautiful child through this labyrinth called “life,” leaving global impact behind him, and an eternity with Christ in front of him. My success as a parent is marked by that one goal: Jesus.

Every Time Out.

Every spanking.

Every privilege that is taken away.

Every encouraging word.

Every reward.

Every gift.

Every day.

It starts and it ends with the only Parenting Expert that matters: Jesus.

If the end of my journey as both a human being and as a parent is marked with Him, than I’ve done it right. And if society thinks that discipline is the wrong thing to do, then that further solidifies my belief that I am on the right track, because I’m not raising a child who goes along with society. I’m raising a man who has the strength and the courage to defy it.

We parent with love, with encouragement, and with discipline.

We create world-changing human beings that have an eternal impact.

THAT.

IS.

NATIONAL.

NEWS.

 

 

 

“Holiness in the Shadowlands,” AKA, “Listening to Praise Music while Wanting to Throat-Chop People in Traffic”

Sometimes, when I talk about my faith, I feel like a giant hypocrite. Man-oh-man, do I make mistakes…I mean it when I say, “I love Jesus but I swear a little (somedays, more than others).” My filters are occasionally nonexistent, but I promise you, I am working on it.

I’m grateful for grace.

This morning, as I was on my walk around the local university, a kid (Millennials, LOL) with a man-bun, who was wearing those ridiculous Adidas slides with socks (they’re only ridiculous when worn WITH SOCKS), was texting and walking, and somehow walked OUT of their shoe, and tripped…because they were texting and walking. Did I respond with compassion?

Nope.

I laughed, and posted about it on Facebook, with the hashtag, #WhyDoesJesusLoveMe

I’m grateful for grace.

Last night, I was driving home with my windows open and my stereo BLARING a Brian & Katie Torwalt CD (BTW, what’s with mixing worship CDs with a crap-ton of bass? Are people gettin’ down in the club to worship songs?!?! I mean, Lord knows I love my bass, but it seems weird to have it bumped up in a quiet worship interlude? Is this for Da Youts? Am I just getting OLD?!?!?!?!?!?!?). I was singing along (loudly–sorry, other drives. Okay, I’m NOT sorry), and driving through what’s known as The Depressed Section of the city. It’s where the highway goes under the streets and pedestrian overpasses of downtown; it’s very congested, and dirty, and LOUD, and stands in direct contrast to the song about holiness that I was singing along with….

The juxtaposition of Holiness and “The Depressed Section” was not lost on me, and as the music (and the drive) went on, I could feel a fire erupt in my chest…

You see, this city–Saint Louis–stands on the brink. We stand on the brink of decisions that could potentially change the course of this city. We stand on the brink of once again, being the center of attention of this nation…this nation that is already so divided, and so on edge.

Everything is uneasy…

Everything is disjointed…

But the music in my car plays on…and I drive by the dirt and the graffiti, by the trash and by that glorious Gateway to the West…I breathe the fumes from the exhausts, but I refuse to roll up my windows, because I feel like the words to the song are a healing balm to this city….because I feel like maybe if I play it louder, someone–anyone–will hear it, and remember Who Reigns…

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord”

He is welcome in this city…there is still a remnant left, and we cry out daily for the hearts of St. Louis…

The song plays on, and my mind is taking in the scene around me as the traffic comes to a standstill…

My heart cries, “Holy.”

The dichotomy of Holiness and helplessness…the struggles in this city, the poverty, the glut of resources and the lack of communication in getting them out…the children that cannot fend for themselves, and the adults who are too selfish to help them stand on their feet…my brain and my heart are arguing, but the music answers the questions:

“Let us become more aware of Your Presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness”

That is my prayer, for myself, for my church, and for this city…that we Understand a Glimpse of the Grace of God….just a glimpse….

The traffic is thick, but the song says to “sing Holy,” so I do…because I HAVE to, because it is what I was made to do…I get cut off in construction, and I wonder, “Lord, where do these two worlds meet?!?”

And He says:

“I

Am

Greater.”

God is greater. He is greater than every mess in this city. He is greater than the violence and the fear; He is greater than the racism and He knows better than anyone that it is real. He is greater than the traffic that is sucking my soul; He is greater than the accident that just happened. He is greater than the storms and the hurricanes and the earthquakes. He Is Greater.

God is greater, and His holiness exists, regardless of where we are or where we live. His holiness reigns supreme in this microcosm of a city, and it reigns in every corner of every house in this nation. Our mind CANNOT HANDLE IT, so we try to drown Him out.

We fail.

He simply cannot be dimmed, and when we pause for worship, we are reminded that His holiness is the greatest Light. Everything else is in shadows.

My mind is ready to throw a stick at the next car that cuts me off, but my soul still cries in harmony with the music playing in my car…I cry “Holy,” with the heart of a grieving mother…with the heart of a stubborn wife…with the heart of a Daughter of the King, with the heart of someone who is struggling to reconcile what He sees in me, with what I see in myself. He is greater than all of my insecurities, my judgmental behaviors, my filter issues. He is greater.

I don’t understand Him, but I will not stop worshiping His Name, even in traffic…

Even when I laugh at falling Millennials.

I am so, SO grateful for grace….