Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hating the children

So, I was flipping channels a bit tonight, en route to a Patrick Swayze movie marathon on AMC (awesome). And, I ran across "Baby Borrowers" on NBC. This show was absolutely disgusting.

To me, this show and others like it demean children and advance harmful attitudes towards them. There's a cottage industry of shows like this now. . . ."Nanny 911, Super Nanny, Wife Swap, etc. . . " While the individual shows have different angles and points to make; they almost always have a warped and negative view of children.

The Nanny shows are designed to help parents with their "out of control" children. Parental help and strategic assistance are good things, and the shows work when you can see parents actually beginning to care for their children. (although, it appears it sometimes takes the work of a "professional" to help achieve this :) )

Those shows rub me the wrong way a bit, though, because they're systematizing the children and "processing" them through behavior modification. Again, some of these things are helpful, but there's a real sense, at times, that they are trying to get the children controlled and sedated so that the parents can get on with their personal interests.

"Baby Borrowers" actually has the tagline "its Birth control!" in the commercials. Like "after seeing all the struggles these teenagers have with a newborn, hopefully you'll think twice about having a baby!" Now, teenage pregnancy is a big problem, and parenting of any kind should be entered into soberly. But, do these "warnings" have to come at the expense of our view of children?

My problems are these:
1) Children are not a problem to be solved.
2) The early childhood years are not to be "survived".
3) The reason that teenagers shouldn't have children out of wedlock has nothing to do with the color of vomit at 4 a.m. or how a dirty diaper smells.

There are bigger problems in life than lack of sleep, barf, crying babies, and busyness

Have I had days where parenting wears me out? Do I become exasperated at my kids? Is it hard looking after little ones? Would I do it all again, and 10 thousand more times if God blesses us?
The answer to all of these questions is "YES" and we are (see the wife's adoption blog).

BUT. . .
Children are a gift from the Lord and are to be celebrated, enjoyed, disciplined, nurtured, and cherished. Teenagers, if they're married, supported, and able,. . . . should be celebrated if they are blessed with a child. There's some famous successful teenage mothers. . like. . .umm oh yeah MARY.

Out of control children need parents that will correct, discipline and nurture them. . . not a set of "techniques" to keep them under control.

I know that this is "unspoken and assumed" in all of these shows, but let's go ahead and "speak" it sometimes. . . . . . .

Psalm 127
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

off of my soapbox,


Jody Britton said...

10,000 more times?!?!?!?! Uh.........

Jeff said...

I watched Baby Borrows last night too. It was pretty troubling. I don't think I had the depth of thought to view it from the children's point of view.

But you have to admit that in our culture today it's extremely difficult for teenagers to handle the responsibilities of raising children - I can barely handle it myself somedays at 40 (+ something).

I just thought it did show the challenges they would face in just 3 days. Then the kids were reunited with their real parents.

So I have to think a bit more about the 'demeaning' children part...

But my initial gut reaction was - this show is aweful.

(in Joseph and Mary's day and even as recent as the early days in this country a few 100 years ago it wasn't really that uncommon for young teens to have babies)

aaron said...

yeah, the mary thing was a cheap shot on my part. :)

I guess I was feeling this philosophy from the show: "why would a teenager ever want to have a baby. . they're so much trouble?"

that could just be my analytical mind going overboard. But, that's what I"m responding to with the "teenager" comments.

You're right. . . definitely a challenge for any age. . . . but also a blessing.


Jeff said...

Oh yeah - I forgot the part about children being a blessing :-) [not really]

In fact that feeling is a constant reality check for me in my relationship with my heavenly Father.

So - often I feel like God is disappointed in me and I'm a challenge for him and a real burden to him.

Then I think about how I feel about my kids. 99.9% of the time it's pure joy, blessing, laughter, fun, hilarity (hey dad your head looks like a hot dog :-).

God goes the extra mile and scores 100%.

Thanks for the reminder.