Friday, August 03, 2007

The Value of a Large Brood

Rusty Lopez writing about (over)protecting our children:
While someone may consider a certain practice as "overprotection", another may simply see it as an exercise in safety. And while someone may consider it a positive thing to let a child "learn the hard way", another may see such an approach as reckless abandon. It would seem that context, intentions, and application ultimately determine how "overprotective" any individual practice may be.

He then goes on to write:
Safety, as a way of life, is not a capitulation to the fear of reality, exemplified by a lack of faith in God; it is an acknowledgment of the realities of our physical existence, and of our responsibilities regarding such realities. These responsibilities are grounded in wisdom. It is, indeed, interesting that God chose to include the entire genre of Wisdom Literature in the Bible. While our culture may think "live and learn", the book of Proverbs exhorts us to, "Learn! Then live!"

I agree with Rusty, parenting is not a question of whether to protect our children or not protect our children. We have to protect our children as we prepare them to not need our protection any longer.

In the traditional American family, mothers have a tendency to over-protect as they nurture their children and fathers have a tendency to under-protect as they train their children. A balance between mothering and fathering provides the right amount of protection and preparation.

However, in a dysfunctional family the balance is lost. This is why so many of the sons of well intentioned single moms end up unprepared to handle adult responsibilities. This why marriage is so necessary to always raising the next generation of Americans. This is why husbands and wives must both fight their desire to dominate a marriage as they both maintain purposeful and assertive respect for each other.

There is also something to be said for large families. Families with more than two children are functionally better for raising children to be adults because it is harder for parents to over-protect their children when the brood is larger. Perhaps this is one of the reasons European society seems so immature compared to America now and one of the reasons America seems headed in the wrong direction.

Update: I bet none of these kids are over-protected.
Among the "fun facts" listed on Discovery Health's Web page devoted to the Duggars: A baby has been born in every month except June; the Duggars have gone through an estimated 90,000 diapers, and Michelle, 40, has been pregnant for 126 months - or 10.5 years - of her life.

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