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Submission to authority (GD from a Biblical point of view)

post #1 of 129
Thread Starter 
I would like to have a discussion regarding a child's submission to authority. I have been thinking alot about what the Bible says about authority and thinking about how that fits with GD, unschooling, consentual living, etc.

Many mamas I know IRL and online do not expect their children to submit at all to authority. From a Christian point of view, how is that Biblical?

What is wrong with being under the authority of another?

Am I maybe missing something?

I do not know how to phrase what I am thinking, so I will leave it at that and be back when I can think more clearly :
post #2 of 129
i'm not sure exactly what you're asking. can GD and christian parenting be compatible? is that what you want to know? i think the letter from dulce de leche (an mdc member) is excellent. here's a link to read it...scroll down a few.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...tter+to+pastor

i'm not sure how authority works in regard to consensual living, we don't practice CL, UP, or US. however, i do think jesus was clear about respecting and loving children. when the bible speaks of authority over others, it is regarded as a priviledge and an awesome responsibility ....not a ticket to boss someone, ykwim, lol. anyway, i love the letter written in that post. i can't share it enough.
post #3 of 129
To me, a consensual family life is categorically Biblical. It would help me if you would post a passage or more specific reference to what you consider to be your Christian or Biblical perspective.
post #4 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffian View Post
To me, a consensual family life is categorically Biblical. It would help me if you would post a passage or more specific reference to what you consider to be your Christian or Biblical perspective.
From what I know about CL, is that all persons are equal as in their is no specific authority.

I may be TOTALLY off.

Same with RU (radical unschooling)

Still not sure how to phrase what I am thinking :
post #5 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizawill View Post
i'm not sure exactly what you're asking. can GD and christian parenting be compatible? is that what you want to know? i think the letter from dulce de leche (an mdc member) is excellent. here's a link to read it...scroll down a few.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...tter+to+pastor

i'm not sure how authority works in regard to consensual living, we don't practice CL, UP, or US. however, i do think jesus was clear about respecting and loving children. when the bible speaks of authority over others, it is regarded as a priviledge and an awesome responsibility ....not a ticket to boss someone, ykwim, lol. anyway, i love the letter written in that post. i can't share it enough.
I know Christian parenting and GD are compatible, but I guess I wonder if some forms of GD are not Christian.

Does that kind of make sense? :
post #6 of 129
My definition of CL in our house, just off the top of my head, is that mutually agreed upon solutions to conflict, consensus, is always our aim and we go in believing it's possible. We're human beings not perfect, so we don't always get there but we keep trying.

I do believe that no one persons needs or wishes are more important than another, based on age or gender or anything else. We are all members of the family.

I find nothing un-Christian or un-Biblical about that.
post #7 of 129
I guess it depends on how you take what you read from the bible.
Give the bible to a hundred different people to read, and they will each take something different from it. Take one passage alone, and each will interpret that differently.
So yes...there are groups of parents out there (perhaps they have their own lables such as we have ones like AP and CL etc) - that take the authority thing from the bible and see that meaning needing to spank your child when they do 'wrong'. Whilst, you can get another group of christians who are very CL instead because that is what they have taken from the bible.
So...it boils down to how you interpret it.
I am not a christian, but I have read the bible - nowhere do I get the idea that children should be submissive to authority. But I have interpreted it differently from those who have.
post #8 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffian View Post
My definition of CL in our house, just off the top of my head, is that mutually agreed upon solutions to conflict, consensus, is always our aim and we go in believing it's possible. We're human beings not perfect, so we don't always get there but we keep trying.

I do believe that no one persons needs or wishes are more important than another, based on age or gender or anything else. We are all members of the family.

I find nothing un-Christian or un-Biblical about that.
What about when a mutual agreement can not be reached?

Let's say I have to leave for work and kids are not wanting to leave?
post #9 of 129
sure it makes sense. i think it's good to ask thought provoking questions, and i hope some of the mamas that are RU or practice CL will chime in here for ya. i'm not much help because in my house i'm the boss, ha ha. i'm kidding.

i think it's one of those topics that can be supported by both sides though, yk? it's like a lot of hot topics with christianity - people tend to use scripture to say what they want it too. hope you get some great insight though! i'll be watching the thread with you
post #10 of 129
Well, let's look at wifely submission which is considered by many (but not all of course) a Biblical principle.

If the husband requires and forces submission, (by punishing her or creating "consequences" for non-submission) is that healthy or okay? Would you agree with that? I wouldn't. I would call it abusive! However, if the wife willingly submits of her own free will for spiritual reasons, then that can be a beautiful thing.

So, for me, with my children it is the same thing. Parenting and raising our children should inspire them to want to submit to loving authority, by inspiring trust in those who have more power than they do. Certainly there are times when I lay down the law so to speak, but I try to avoid those times as much as possible. If you force a child to obey, they will most likely rebel, and they will certainly develop either an unhealthy resentment for authority, or an unhealthy attachment to authority (like, from the wrong places). People don't like being forced and it's not a healthy dynamic.

I can't think of a time Jesus never forced anyone to do anything, btw. The cleaning out of the temple might come close-- but I think that was different.

Here are some personal notes I wrote on this subject last week:

Quote:
* In a caring relationship of any kind, there is no room for punishment. But a child (or adult) SHOULD experience the NATURAL consequences of their actions as much as is safe and appropriate. They should have the benefit of experiencing these consequences WITH the guidance of a loving and caring adult who will not alienate them or withhold affection or compassion.

* Food for thought: in the scriptures, Heavenly Father and Jesus NEVER punish anyone. They simply allow people to sometimes experience the natural consequences of their own choices and actions (always with plenty of prior information given about what those consequences will be or might be). On the other hand, there are also many times when God compassionately shields people from the natural consequences of their actions. Which approach God takes depends on the person’s attitude, situation, and level of understanding.

* Heavenly Father and Jesus allow us to experience consequences even when it would be easier for Them to just punish us. Natural consequences of our actions often sadden God more than they hurt us, because the goal is not revenge, it is growth. Natural consequences may be very inconvenient to the parent. Punishment is often more convenient, but it is not conducive to the child’s growth in the long run.

* Punishment breaks trust and creates resentment.
I'd love to dicuss this more, it's still something I am forming ideas on.
post #11 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ann_of_loxley View Post
I guess it depends on how you take what you read from the bible.
Give the bible to a hundred different people to read, and they will each take something different from it. Take one passage alone, and each will interpret that differently.
So yes...there are groups of parents out there (perhaps they have their own lables such as we have ones like AP and CL etc) - that take the authority thing from the bible and see that meaning needing to spank your child when they do 'wrong'. Whilst, you can get another group of christians who are very CL instead because that is what they have taken from the bible.
So...it boils down to how you interpret it.
I am not a christian, but I have read the bible - nowhere do I get the idea that children should be submissive to authority. But I have interpreted it differently from those who have.
One scripture comes to mind:

Ephesians 6:1 Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.

(Followed by scripture about fathers not provoking their children )
post #12 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
Well, let's look at wifely submission which is considered by many (but not all of course) a Biblical principle.

If the husband requires and forces submission, (by punishing her or creating "consequences" for non-submission) is that healthy or okay? Would you agree with that? I wouldn't. I would call it abusive! However, if the wife willingly submits of her own free will for spiritual reasons, then that can be a beautiful thing.

So, for me, with my children it is the same thing. Parenting and raising our children should inspire them to want to submit to loving authority, by inspiring trust in those who have more power than they do. Certainly there are times when I lay down the law so to speak, but I try to avoid those times as much as possible. If you force a child to obey, they will most likely rebel, and they will certainly develop either an unhealthy resentment for authority, or an unhealthy attachment to authority (like, from the wrong places). People don't like being forced and it's not a healthy dynamic.

I can't think of a time Jesus never forced anyone to do anything, btw. The cleaning out of the temple might come close-- but I think that was different.

Here are some personal notes I wrote on this subject last week:



I'd love to dicuss this more, it's still something I am forming ideas on.
This makes a lot of sense. : As a submissive wife myself, that is a GREAT analogy.

However, what if the child is not at an age of reason yet to determine right from wrong?
post #13 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post

However, what if the child is not at an age of reason yet to determine right from wrong?
well, in that case...even the most radical CL or RU mama is going to intervene and protect her baby from harm's way, yk? if a child doesn't know right from wrong, they will either have natural consequences to teach them or the parent will need to intervene until they learn it (especially in regard to serious safety issues). right?
post #14 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
What about when a mutual agreement can not be reached?

Let's say I have to leave for work and kids are not wanting to leave?
There are many, many threads and the CL website out to address the "what about..." No paradigm including parenting or Christianity is a flow chart, if...then...else. It's a philosophy.

The other half of any snippet that says "SoandSo must obey SomebodyElse" is the responsibility of the SomebodyElse. Parents have a responsibility to their children, too. It's my responsibility to take car of my daughter's trust in me, which is exactly why I parent the way I do. You edited: that's always the following sentiment. Not provoking my daughter, to me, is my motivation in the life we life at home; making it easy for her to learn and succeed.

Ephesians is an epistle, it's advice to children that it's right and a good idea to respect and listen to their parents. I'm with that. It doesn't actually say "have to" and it doesn't say "parents, force your children to do what you want."

"Listen to your parents" is good advice, I give it to my daughter all the time. We parents have already been around the block a few times, we're trying to help and we usually know what we're talking about. I don't see it as an issue of submission or mutually exclusive with consensus.
post #15 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizawill View Post
well, in that case...even the most radical CL or RU mama is going to intervene and protect her baby from harm's way, yk? if a child doesn't know right from wrong, they will either have natural consequences to teach them or the parent will need to intervene until they learn it (especially in regard to serious safety issues). right?
Right. But sometimes it may not be an immediate danger. Maybe it is more of a sin issue with attitude or an issue where something HAS to take place and they are being disrespectful about handling it.

For instance, we have been having MAJOR issues with getting out of the house on time. It is causing all of us (me included) to be disrespectful. We have talked during calm times and tried to make a plan, but things still get out of control.

My ds (9yrs) actually asked me to punish them if they did not cooperate at the time of leaving He said that it would teach them to be loving to their mother and be respectful However, the others do not agree
post #16 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
This makes a lot of sense. : As a submissive, wife that is a GREAT analogy.

However, what if the child is not at an age of reason yet to determine right from wrong?
Well, we have to shield them from some dangers, for sure. And we have to create a safe environment for other family members if the "wrong" in question involves violence, for instance. But as much as possible, I think it is ideal to allow children to learn right and wrong naturally through natural consequnces, while we act as loving, understanding, and compassionate guides along the way.

I alos take to heart the idea that little children are actually holier and closer to God than we are, and so, for the most part, they greatly desire to please us and to do good. When children "act out" it is usually because they do not feel connected/bonded/attached to us as they should and so they are "off-center". Just as God should be my center, children need their parents to be their center, to keep them "good" (feeling good and therefore acting "right").

It's the same with my relationship with God. I am more likely to do the wrong things when I am not feeling close to God or connected to God. When I am working on building my relationship with God, and I am feeling God-centered, feeling His love so close all the time inspires me to be good. Children are the same. Keep them close so that they can always feel your love and they will generally try to be "good".

BTW, I am still working on all of this. Didn't want anyone to think I'm some kind of perfect parent. Nope, not at all. Knowing and doing are two different things. I am working on it! BTW, staying God-centered is the best way for me to remember to parent my children the right way.
post #17 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffian View Post
Ephesians is an epistle, it's advice to children that it's right and a good idea to respect and listen to their parents. I'm with that. It doesn't actually say "have to" and it doesn't say "parents, force your children to do what you want."

"Listen to your parents" is good advice, I give it to my daughter all the time. We parents have already been around the block a few times, we're trying to help and we usually know what we're talking about. I don't see it as an issue of submission or mutually exclusive with consensus.
I agree with this. I believe in teaching my children the concept that they should obey their parents-- it's a good thing to do-- but I don't agree with forcing them to do so. It must be their own choice.
post #18 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
I agree with this. I believe in teaching my children the concept that they should obey their parents-- it's a good thing to do-- but I don't agree with forcing them to do so. It must be their own choice.
How do you handle when their choice is extremely disruptive or unhealthy for others in the home?

For example: They are choosing to play loudly. I politely ask them to quite down so that they do not wake the baby. They choose not to quite down.

Result: Baby wakes.

My issue: Their behavior seems to only cause a consequence for ME.

Similarly: not leaving the house on time when I HAVE to go to work (they come with me) Consequence? I am late.

Not cleaning up after themselves. Consequence? I have to clean it up. (if I do not want to be punitive and throw their stuff away or pack it away)

Just a couple of examples.
post #19 of 129
I'm very curious to see what others have to say on this topic as well. The first thing that came to my mind, though, was the same husband-wife dynamic LionTigerBear already pointed out. I submit to my husband out of love, not out of fear. I trust him to take all of our concerns/feelings into account and to act in the best interest of our entire family when he makes a decision. In the same way, I want to foster that same love-trust relationship with our children.

As for the oft-quoted "Children, obey" imperative, I see that as a directive from God to children who are capable of understanding. There will be times when our children won't like, agree with, or understand the reasoning behind parental instructions. But in these instances, they have an opportunity to demonstrate their respect for and submission to God by submitting to their parents.

On a related note, I think the Biblical concept of authority is a lot different that the concept that plays out in modern society. In the world at large, authority seems to be about power and control, about whose interests trumps whose. The strong force their will on the weak, use the weak to accomplish their purposes, etc. Biblical authority, as demonstrated by Christ, however, is the antithesis of this. Christ forced His will on no one, used His power to help the weak, and ultimately laid down His life on behalf of those who were "under" Him. If anything, in the Biblical scheme of things, the needs of the weak trump all ... kind of like my 5-month-old's need for comfort at 2 a.m. trumps my need for sleep ...
post #20 of 129
Among the central messages I find in the Bible is, put somewhat indelicately, "work on yourself."

St. Paul gives advice to believers in his epistles, yes, but I'd be hard pressed to find in the New Testament a call to "now that you know exactly what's Right for you and for everyone else, go out and bend others to your will." I find the very premise of Christ's message to be the very opposite of that.

To me, that translates to parenting that it's not my job to bend DD but find my role in conflict and my way to clear the path for her. Sounds wishy-washy and I'm sorry, it doesn't get at all the "yeah but what about"s but that's my address to the original question. It's "attraction not promotion", which is the Christian message IMO.

(I realize that doesn't get your kids out the door any faster )
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