For “Scripture Sunday”:
Dr. Spock on Parenting: Did He Get It Right?
“There are many self-help books for parents on the market, but one of the most influential was written by Benjamin Spock. Was his advice good?
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Baby and Child Care, which was published in 1946 by Benjamin Spock and became an international best-seller. This book is considered one of the most influential works of the 20th century. But Dr. Spock’s book has also been very controversial—being both praised and vilified (depending on one’s viewpoint).
After reading it recently, I found his book filled with many practical tips, but it has one fundamental flaw: his underlying philosophy is rooted in humanism, a philosophical approach that attributes innate goodness to human beings.
But is that really true? Is it human nature to be positive and loving?
The humanistic perspective
Humanism is more than just an opinion on human nature, it is also a perspective that pervades many disciplines and is essentially an attempt to explain the world from a solely secular perspective. Consider the ways this perspective has influenced parenting:
1. Independent thinking should be promoted over strict obedience or adherence to rules.
2. Demand the best for your children—not necessarily the best from your children.
3. Feeling good is more important than doing good.
4. Physical possessions can increase happiness, so buy your kids what they want, when they want it so they don’t feel deprived.
What has been the result of this philosophy? A number of things: individualism, entitlement, self-importance, unrealism and materialism.
The consequences for today
Jean Twenge, in her book Generation Me, addresses the consequences of parenting from a humanistic approach. Though technically she is writing about the Millennial Generation (those born in the 1980s and ’90s), Dr. Twenge believes “me” is an apt description of this generation. Because of the application of the above parenting principles, Gen Me’ers have been groomed since birth to put themselves first.
God’s Word has been largely dismissed as a guidebook for life—including parenting.For decades, children have been fed a diet of “me, me, me,” which has had an effect on their attitudes and perspective. Dr. Twenge includes a number of quotes from Millennials that demonstrate common attitudes:
- “I couldn’t care less how I am viewed by society. I live my life according to the morals, views, and standards that I create” (Melissa, 20).
- “His new motto was ‘Do what’s best for Jason. I had to make me happy; I had to do what was best for myself in every situation’” (Jason, 25).
- “As long as I believe in myself, I really do not care what others think” (Rachel, 21).
(The above quotes were taken from pages 20 and 49 of the 2006 edition of Generation Me.)
Unfortunately, as Dr. Twenge points out, young people are less prepared for the challenges of the world than ever before because many enter society with greater self-esteem and inflated expectations but then become stressed, depressed and finally apathetic when the realities of life sink in.
Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are increasing problems. Dr. Twenge writes, “Our growing tendency to put the self first leads to unparalleled freedom, but it also creates an enormous amount of pressure on us to stand alone” (p. 109). Expecting more out of life than life has to offer can be a recipe for crippling disappointment.
The missing perspective
Sadly, God’s Word has been largely dismissed as a guidebook for life—including parenting. The perspective of the Bible was not embraced by Dr. Spock, so many solid, timeless principles have been neglected by parents and Generation Me’ers. In many ways, the Bible directly contradicts the humanistic perspective.
The Bible shows clearly that human nature is not to be exalted or innately trusted:
- “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
- “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Bible prophesied about how individuals would be in the end times: “For men [and women] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4).
We are surrounded by these traits today, and many of them are the result of the humanistic approach. In general, the common theme of all of these traits is selfishness.
While Dr. Spock undoubtedly had good intentions, his understanding and teachings were based on a flawed philosophy. He is just another example of mankind rejecting God’s perspective and not knowing the way to go (Jeremiah 10:23).
If you are raising children or expect to raise children in the future, be aware of the humanistic perspective that has crept into many self-help books. Turn to the Bible for a proper perspective and find parenting authors who also respect and promote the biblical perspective.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/dr-spock-on-parenting-did-he-get-it-right/
Life, Hope & Truth has published many resources on parenting issues. Explore the “Parenting” section of our site to read articles on parenting written from a biblical perspective.
Parenting Lessons From a Baby Bird
“Windows of opportunity to teach life lessons to children can come at the most unexpected times. But these unplanned times may be some of the most memorable.
When our youngest child was 4 years old, he was working with me in the yard. In the process, we found a tiny dead bird beneath one of the trees. It grabbed his attention and started a series of questions that provided a means to discuss even bigger issues of life.
His little mind struggled to understand what had happened and why she had died. She was a young bird without even her adult feathers, so I wasn’t able to tell what kind of bird she was. Her nest was above us somewhere, but I couldn’t spot it.
Why? That was probably the word my son used most: Why did she die? Why didn’t her parents protect her? Why did she leave her nest? Why didn’t she fly back up to her nest?
We talked about life and death and the way God created all creatures. God did not create our physical bodies to live forever. The Scriptures affirm that death will come to all of us (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). But God has a plan for humans that continues beyond the certainty of our physical deaths. For humanity, there is the promise of life after death! (For more on this, read “Is There Life After Death?”)
I’ve observed many sets of parent birds bring their babies along from an egg to a fully capable adult. They work hard, tag-teaming the nest to provide enough food for a growing and ravenous family. They will work tirelessly to protect the nest, placing themselves in harm’s way to lure a threat away from their babies—at times even making the ultimate sacrifice so that their little ones may live and have a chance to thrive.” Continued at: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/parenting-lessons-from-a-baby-bird/
Practical Tips for Positive Parenting
“Parenting can be one of the most wonderful experiences—but it can also be frustrating. How can we increase the wonderful—and lower the frustration?
From planning and preparing for a baby’s arrival to first holding that precious new life in your arms—it is hard to put into words the feelings we have when starting a family!
Then begins the process of taking a little one who is dependent on you for every need and helping him or her develop into an independent, well-mannered and productive member of society.
It is a daunting task, and there are bound to be bumps along that path!
No matter where you are in your parenting “career”—from brand-new, first-time parent to experienced grandparent—virtually everyone feels at a loss from time to time while raising children. This section has been written for those times when a fresh perspective or the seasoned words of veteran parents can provide the insight you need.
The world is changing rapidly, but the basic needs of children, from infancy to young adulthood, remain the same. Meeting their physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual needs are all as important today as ever.
The psalmist likened children to arrows in the quiver of an archer, stating that “happy is the man who has his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:5 ). We invite you to explore the experiences and lessons in this section so your parenting experience can be more of the happy—and less of the frustrating!”
See: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/ and scroll down the page to see many articles on parenting.
It seemed like the preparation work for the painting of the mini-house living room and bedroom walls was never ending, but we finally got it done. All the caulking, sanding, and scraping was done, and all the walls are painted. The ceiling trim and the baseboards are white, and the walls are a very pale yellow. The wooden trim around the windows will be installed later. Hans came and sanded some more on the big wooden shelf unit that is going on the back wall. I am still going around with a measuring tape, trying to figure out where everything will go.
The sofa and the big roll of carpet are still in there, in the way, so we can’t build the wall between the living room and bedroom yet. We were hoping that they would be sold or someone would happen along who could help us move them. But there are plenty of other things to be done.
The pastor’s wife of the morning church on FM 1097 called and her sister is very ill, to the point of being tended by hospice, so she couldn’t be there for the service. She was hoping that I would be able to ramrod the potluck. I didn’t know that she had left a Chicken Enchilda Casserole and one of those store-bought roasted chickens to heat up. So I took one crockpot of Chicken Breast Gumbo, one crockpot of brown rice cooked in broth, one tiny crockpot of quinoa, and a Baked Hash Brown Casserole. I made the salad, some cole slaw, and several veggies. I also cooked a box of ‘better than fish finger things’ that were in the freezer. Someone brought some potato salad, melon and pies, so everyone liked the meal and we all had a great time.
The Bible readings were Num. 16:1-18:32, 1 Sam. 11:14-18:23, and Rom. 13:1-7, and the Teaching was “Is Your Church Going Back In Time?” which I didn’t hear very well as I was in the kitchen for that.
While we were eating in the dining hall, there came up a realy big gully-whomping rainstorm, so I didn’t have to wash the van today!