Shortly after WWII, there was a man who wrote a book about parenting, his name was Dr. Spock. No, not the Spock from Star Trek! This man took it upon himself to become the parenting expert of his day, passing his philosophy on raising children to millions of people and much of it was influenced by the ideas of Freud. Although there were some good points in his book, such as babies need affection and love from their father and mother, much of his book was based on his humanistic views of the world. The basis of his book was not on character training of children or teaching them self control or respect for authority, rather his premise was for parents to indulge their children, what we could call a child-centered parenting approach. He advised parents to trust their own instincts and their feelings in raising their children. His book has sold over 50 million copies and been translated into 42 languages. This book and several others he wrote became the “Parenting Bible” for millions of the parents of baby boomers.
Here is a quote from Dr. Spock from an interview he gave:
“In the 1968 New York Times interview Spock admitted that he hoped he had contributed to the contempt for authority demonstrated by teens in the ‘60s. ‘I would be proud if the idealism and militancy of youth today were caused by my book,’ he said.”
Millions of parents across the world trusted Dr. Spock as their expert over all other experts, including God and the Bible, and raised their children according to his advice, principles, and philosophies. The result was a generation of spoiled, indulgent, self-centered, rebellious young adults called “baby boomers,” who believed they knew better than their parents. They brought us the ‘60s with its subsequent moral decline, a culture of divorce, sexual immorality, rampant STDs, and much of the moral depravity we experience today. The human cost, societal costs, and financial costs have been catastrophic. I grew up in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and I can attest first hand to the destructive influence of those philosophies.
Don’t get me wrong, there was also parenting advice given before Spock ever wrote his book to previous generations that was equally off base. It taught you not to hug or kiss your child, or hold them on your lap. It was a cold, austere, authoritarian philosophy of parenting that was very often devoid of any meaningful, warm parent/child relationship.
In 1979, when I began my parenting journey, I had to make a crucial, vitally important decision. It was the most important decision of my life. Who was I going to trust for my parenting guidance and advice? Who would be the expert I looked to? Who did I believe knew the very most about raising children? If God is indeed the Creator of all things, if God did indeed create us in our mother’s womb and brought us into this world, as we say we believe, then does He not as the Creator of human beings actually know what children need most to grow up best?
For years I challenged young people that we really find out who fears the Lord when you get married and have children. Why? Because then we will see who you look to for expert parenting advice. Is it God and His book the Bible, or your college psychology department? Will you have the guts and the courage to follow God’s expert advice for training and disciplining your child with the rod of correction that Proverbs teaches you, or will you be afraid and listen to the world’s experts that tell you it is wrong, that God’s word, the Bible, is archaic, backward and out of step with the 21st century?
God the Expert tells us himself in His Book, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!”
Meaning – Treat God as the authoritative Expert that He is! That’s where wisdom begins. If you fail here, you lose everything, and folly and pain will be your reward.
God the Expert tells us that every child born is a gift from Him, specially created by Him and given to us to love, cherish, guide, teach and bring up in the instruction, training, and discipline of the Lord.
God the Expert tells us that all humans are born sinners, with a sinful, rebellious nature, filled with foolishness, because of Adam’s sin. All of us trace our lineage back to that first man, Adam, and his sinful nature was passed onto all of us. This is why Jesus Christ came into the world, to save us all from our sins.
God the Expert tells us that all children are born with a sinful, selfish nature and that left to themselves, unloved, undisciplined, and uncorrected they become self-centered people, driven by their sinful, selfish passions, lusts, and desires. They become enslaved to their sinful nature and impulses.
God the Expert commands children to obey their parents. God places children under the loving authority of their parents. Godly, loving authority is a wonderful thing. Overbearing, rigid, ungodly authoritarianism is a bad thing. We are not called by God to be tyrants. We are called by God to imitate Him, and His wise, loving parenting style.
Dads, do you believe in your heart of hearts that God knows what He is talking about when it comes to fathering and raising your children? This is a very serious and compelling question we each must face and answer! Is God the Expert and His Book who and where you look for truth, wisdom, guidance and advice in raising your children, first and foremost?
As an illustration, this was the opening thought of Dr. Spock’s 1946 book:
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
Now lets contrast that with God the Expert’s, opening lines of His Book.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 NLT
What an amazing contrast!
For 45 years of my life, my greatest passion was to model, teach and preach God the Expert’s truth, wisdom, commands, and advice in a meaningful way, and pass it on to others. It has been my unwavering passion and life purpose. It still is!
I can tell you from first-hand experience, having raised 4 children myself, little children can be taught and trained using God’s ways, methods, and advice to be delightful, cheerful, happy, and obedient. I have witnessed this first hand in hundreds of other families I helped mentor and teach God’s ways over the decades. I witness it today in my 12 grandchildren, who are each being raised by their parents using the wisdom and methods prescribed by God the Expert, in His book, the Bible.
I have never, ever regretted for one single moment that I followed God the Expert’s parenting wisdom and advice. It was the best decision I ever made.
If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24 NLT
Discipline your son in his early years while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin his life.
Proverbs 19:18 LB
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15 NASB
Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.
Psalm 127:3 NASB
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 NASB
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Ephesians 6:1 NASB
Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children, and live a life of love.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life.
Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to those who hear them.
There is a great reward for those who obey them!
Psalm 19:7-11 NLT
Please take the time to hear this message series. You will be extremely glad you did.