Comments 6

  1. I wonder how any adult could think “cultural trauma” of some type is avoidable by children or that anything good will be served by intensifying the gap between more and less privileged classes on this basis.

    What exactly is being regarded as “cultural trauma” anyway? Learning the dark side of American history? Seeing how “the other half” lives today? Fasting or eating only rice and beans to cultivate empathy and spiritual solidarity with the poor? Being subjected to certain religious teachings, circumcision, essentialist gender roles? These are all things that various people find traumatic and inappropriate for their children while others embrace them as positive and essential.

    1. Hi Jenette, thanks for your comment.

      I had some similar questions about the “cultural trauma” issue as well. I think Stokes is referring more to dealing with bullies and times when the world seems out to get us. She’s not trying to minimize the bad things that so many suffer, I think she’s trying to ask why we would want to give our kids “bad” when we want “good” for them. There are many ways to critique that sentiment, but I resonate to some degree with the impulse: we parents want to (and should) protect our children, and there is some space for limiting the harshness of the world around us for our children if that’s something we can provide. I still tend to think that children will be exposed to these things eventually anyway, and I want the opportunity to be there formatively for my children to help them develop the coping skills, wisdom, and empathy that comes from dealing with deprivation, suffering, or unfairness, rather than preventing them from experiencing it altogether.

  2. Don, I especially like the “sapling” thought. That likens a child to the image I always see in the Psalm 1 verse “He is like a tree planted by streams of water.” When you care about the young tree you have planted, you stake three supports posts at equal distance around the sapling with twine or rubber ropes to secure it to its support structures which are home, church, and school. The supports keep it going straight and prevent breakage or downfall. The fact of being planted by a stream, certainly tells me that God plans for us to drink freely from His Word and grow well because of it. Two supports aren’t as effective as three in the task of training a young child. And the planter knows best each tree’s readiness to have the supports loosen their hold when the sapling’s trunk has grown strong enough to provide necessary strength to face the winds of life.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Elaine.

    Always happy to facilitate another avenue for getting us to the three-legged stool of church, home, and school. Just don’t take the tent posts in your metaphor as any implicit opinion for or against putting a toddler on a leash. 🙂

  4. As an educator, I am always very intrigued by the various homes and parenting styles my students come from. One of my mottos in all of life has been “All things in moderation”. I like to think a combination of the helicopter or hovering parent and the free range parenting style is good for kids. Parents need to be hovering a bit when checking to see if they have homework completed, know their memory verse or math facts, or if they are treating their classmates in a God-honoring way. However, to be sitting right next to them and making sure they get their assignments completed, helping them with all of their homework, and doing their projects for them, is not developing them into independent learners. From the moment a child is born, we are training them to be independent. Whether it is in their education, social life, or spiritual well being, I believe we need to teach them, monitor them and help them learn to live independently. And pray like crazy the entire time!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ardene.

      I love your last statement. I’m certainly no expert on parenting, but it’s plain to me with a daughter pushing two that I will never be able to forcibly mold her into exactly what I want her to be. I rejoice in her independent and inquisitive spirit, but there are times I see the parents who are more disciplined and structured, and I wonder “man, their two year old is doing introductory calculus and playing three instruments already… I wonder if mine should have learned not to eat crayons yet?” I find that parenthood often (not always) has me second-guessing myself, and it’s wonderful that I have my wife as a partner to help balance out what would otherwise be me relying on my own (highly inadequate) wisdom. However, the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is an entirely new urgency for and reliance on prayer.

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