For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:16
I grew up not wanting to have children. In my isolated world I experienced a parenting style that used harsh, physical, anger-fueled discipline. I didn’t know there was any other way and knew it wasn’t what I wanted impose on any children. So often as we become our own people, cleaved from our parents, we take the elements of parenting we don’t like and try to do the exact opposite. However, I also acknowledged as a new adult that the harsh discipline kept me from a lot of dangerous behavior. So where was the balance?
If you take a brief walk through the history of parenting you’ll see a modern conflict similar to the one I was having. The harsh disciplinary view of old was met face on with Dr. Spock and his more “loosey goosey” style. But as the Spock kids became the radical children of the 60s and 70s parents searched for a middle ground. One psychologist, Dr. James Dobson took up the challenge. He brought parents back into the position of authority but done with love.
Discipline isn’t, by definition, a bad thing. Studies have shown that the most effective way to foster healthy relationships with children and give them the ability to learn and utilize self-control is through positive discipline.Lauren Steele, Fatherly.com
We humans need fatherly guardrails. It’s a proven fact since the beginning of time. We need to remember that when Moses came down the mountain with the 10 commandments they were NEW rules. New guardrails of how to worship God, how to treat other people, how to be respectful within our families, and how to protect ourselves from well, ourselves.
The Old Testament has a shadow story woven throughout. Yes, we follow the woeful Israelites through trials, tribulations and successes. But put in context God is constantly showing them how to live differently than all the other nations around them. Nations that He created as well but saw how they overwhelmingly desired to live outside His guardrails – rampant sexual exploits, child sacrifice and more. He was testing them all, just like today. Free self-reign or accepting governance by God.
I praise God today for His guardrails. For the 10 Commandments He gave us to live within. Because just like our children we prove over and over that without them we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble. Without His guidance, His narrow path, we wander off into parts unknown, get lost, live in fear and despair, and ruin not just our lives but the ones we love.
When I met my husband and told him why I didn’t want children he assured me we’d figure it out. He wouldn’t let my past keep me from a full future. Thankfully as we took the journey, we met God along the way. I may have pushed up against those guardrails a few times but He always calls me back to the center of the road.