When I look at my family, I can’t but view them using a Calvinist lens. I find that using a Calvinistic thought process is absolutely critical in the way I raise up and nurture my young family. Amazingly, when I deviate from this lens, the more strained our family relationships become and the further we drift from God-centered child raising, to a man-centered one.
I have a lot of children, consequently I meet many families that have lots of children too. I find that we become friends frequently with many families that have a very warm regard for children in their lives, regardless of how many they have. We just seem to have a natural connection.
Like these other families we have sincere desires to disciple our children toward godliness and the Christian faith. Between all these different families, many different methods are employed to achieve the type of faith that we want our progeny to have and this is where I’m deeply grateful for how Calvinism helps me in raising my children. By focusing on Calvinism when raising my family, I’m better able to instruct and disciple my children. It’s reflective of the God-centered gospel we desire.
My Family is Filled with People
Obviously there are people in my family, every family has people, what in the world does that have to do with Calvinism? Firstly, Calvinism helps me to see what a child’s ultimate problem is in living a life wholly devoted to God. The number one problem they face, is that they have a hostile sinful nature in their very core.
Tantrums are NOT Cute
My two-year old outwardly demonstrates her sinful nature, continuously. Every tantrum and fit clearly demonstrates that she has a nature that proclaims ultimate supremacy over everyone and everything in view. Her sinful nature keeps her as the supreme determiner in her life, she wants to be a god and any deviation from her will is met with wrath.
It is very tempting to see a child in full tantrum and simply focus on that embarrassing and probably annoying behavior. Many feel immediately compelled to squash this behavior and the quicker the better to get it all to stop. But what exactly are we thinking about when we see a child’s face turning red, reaching a feverishly skin curdling scream? Being irritated, embarrassed, or angry are always the wrong reasons to correct a behavior and each and every time I’ve “disciplined” in hastiness or irritation, it has been in complete contradiction to the Calvinistic views I espouse.
Tantrums are Evil
If without first recognizing the child’s sin-filled spirit of domination over everything, it is easy to pander to their sinful desires trying to avoid the conflict or suppress outward behaviors because they bug me. The true reality is never addressed which is their full blown lawlessness. By addressing what bothers me with distraction, or meeting irritation with a lack of self-control all the wrong conditioning is occurring. They either manipulate me more to receive their every desire by causing a raucous or they will clam up into conformity, outwardly, while inwardly seething, until they learn how to assert their dominion in some other way. All this completely misses the Calvinistically God-centered view of child raising for which I aim.
The Calvinistic and God-centered view compels me to bring my child to the realization that they have a wicked nature that must be brought to subjection to Christ’s law, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Instead of pandering to sinful behaviors, we must discipline the child and bring tangible suffering for an outburst of lawlessness. Not only am I suppressing the child’s desire to be a god, but a neglect to put down such rebellion is tacit acceptance of a contrary god in the presence of my family, which puts me in the same lawlessness.
When Will the Fits End?
Our family ends up walking through this process with our two-year olds daily. We’ve done it for each and every one of our children, since we started applying the God-centered Calvinistic approach. It’s still challenging each time. We seem to always be lamenting how the current two-year old is SO much worse than the last one. Maybe our memory is just hazy, more likely is that we’re just learning more as we grow as parents becoming more sensitive and astute to the spiritual realities at work each day.
The important thing that we need to keep at the forefront of our thinking is the necessity for each child to be reconciled to God and to keep Him on the throne, both in our hearts and lives.
We’d love to know how a Calvinistically God-centered approach affects your child raising?