More on Parents

Now that I wrote that clever title above, I see that you could take it two ways. And, coincidentally, that’s what this post is really about: moron parents. Some time ago I wrote something about daughters obeying their parents, even when they disagree with those parents, and then I had a follow-up post which got quarantined to the draft pile. That’s why this may seem out of nowhere. But, back to parents.  Sad to say, shocking as it is, grievous as it is, some parents are demanding, self-centered, and idiotic nincompoops (noun; a fool or simpleton; origin 1670-80). And I do pity anyone who has parents like this.

However, all that said, a daughter with parents like this can still find ways to honor and obey them. It may be hard, but if she asks God for ways to be a submissive daughter, that is a prayer that will be answered. But if they are doing bone-headed awful things, then she should get some help.

For example, if  parents are seriously trying to marry a daughter off to a man she doesn’t want to marry, I have already mentioned (in a comment in the original post on this) that she should call the pastor. In all the scads of weddings my husband has performed, he has never detected reluctance on the part of the bride. (I think I remember a groom with cold feet, but he got over it.) If my husband thought a daughter was being leaned on by her parents to marry the guy, he would in no way perform the wedding. And he would do all in his power to get the parents to straighten up. Good grief!

But let’s consider the kind of parents who are just normal ding-dongs and not the really evil kind of malicious parent who would pressure their daughter into marriage. The normal, average, ding-dong parent might still do some silly things. They might set curfews that a daughter may object to. They might insist she keep the cleavage covered and stay out of hot tubs with the boys. They might even be the kind who won’t let her post ridiculous pictures of herself on Facebook or let her get a tattoo. And they certainly won’t let her date the kid who thinks it is cool to trash talk his own parents.

Now this sort of thing could be seen by the daughter (let’s say she is a teenager) as heavy handed. But someday, if she gets wisdom, she will see that her parents were actually very, very smart.

But what about the woman who is transitioning out of her teens? If she has wise parents, they will have been taking the training wheels off gradually over the past several years. They won’t need to micro-manage her because they will trust her. She will have internalized the standards, she will love the standards that her parents have taught her, and she will be able to govern herself quite nicely, though she may still be asking her parents’ advice from time to time. The example I gave in the earlier post of the young woman whose parents required her to wear dresses was an example of parents who were loving, but not wise. Her sweet demeanor helped them to grow in wisdom.

As my husband has said many times, parents should not want their children to conform to the standard; they should want their children to love the standard. If your kids don’t love the standard, then lower the standard to a level they will love. When our son and daughters were in high school, I can’t think of anything that they had to obey. I’m sure that I asked them to set the table, or clean their room, or any number of things, but I doubt that I was thinking anymore of them obeying me, though you could say that technically that’s what it was. If they went out, they might ask what time we wanted them home, or we might ask what time they would be home. Because they loved the standard, we got along famously.

When the standard is unreasonable, and when daughters don’t love it, there is obvious tension. Nimcompoop parents sometimes have wise children, but not often. But in such a case, a wise daughter should look for as many ways as she can to obey her parents, and I would suggest she get some wise counsel from her pastor on how to do it. I have seen wise daughters work very hard to honor and obey their foolish parents. Sometimes they win out, and sometimes they become as foolish as their parents.

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18 thoughts on “More on Parents

  1. Thank you for the follow-up post! As a parent, I want to be wise and loving and discerning, which is sometimes very difficult with children who are difficult.

    Would you mind reminding us which post it was you are following up on? I’d like to go back and read that one, too!

  2. Can you give an example of lowering the standards so the daughter will love them? I’m wondering how a parent would do that without lowering the standards straight into a vat of sin, something I’m sure you’re not advocating. I need more explanation to understand what you are saying, I think. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Thanks, Valerie! For you comment-readers, Valerie drove the 4 hours to join us for worship in Lynchburg this a.m. While extolling her virtues to the ladies, I mentioned this post (which I loaded from our hotel last night). I knew someone was going to ask about the earlier post, and I didn’t want to find it because I needed to get us re-packed and go to bed. My comforting thought was knowing that dear sweet Valerie would take care of it! Three cheers for Valerie! For the other comment/questions, I will get to those tomorrow. The Detroit airport is not my ideal writing place!

  4. Thank you, Valerie (and Nancy:) )!

    Sorry about the Detroit airport not being conducive to writing! Try the Gerald R Ford in Grand Rapids sometime–I think you could write there okay:)


  5. I second the Gerald R Ford airport….pretty quiet place!
    I, too, would like to hear your thoughts on lowering the standard so they love it. Do you raise it back up again? I can see myself dashing to this out of my own laziness (ie, giving up on the higher standard, etc). Something to be wary of, I’m sure.

  6. Dear Mrs Wilson, this comment is completely unrelated to your post, but I don’t know of another way to contact you.I have been reading ‘Fruit of her Hands’ and have just finished the section on widowhood. You suggest getting your answers to questions like “Could God have spared my husband? Why didn’t He?” straight now, while your husband is still alive. Mine is, and these are questions I often think about. I struggle with anxiety, and everytime something awful (losing a baby, a husband, an older child) happens to someone we know or know of, the sin of worry rears its ugly head. Whilst reading your book I suddenly thought “Why DOES God take some husbands when they are young, with small families, and others when they are 94?And why does God take some babies home when they are 2 days old?”I know that my theology is cooked in this area. I am truly struggling to marry God’s sovereignty and His goodness. And so, the point of this wordy comment is to ask if you know of any good books that help chronic worriers like myself to get our doctrine straight. Or can I be so bold as to ask if you would *please* write a post on the topic. You and your daughters are a tremendous encouragement and example of fruitfulness to me. Thank you for writing books, and for this blog.

  7. Nancy’s the sweet one. I was talking with a little cluster of ladies who dispersed to chase kids and such. I was working up the courage to intrude on another conversation (isn’t there a nice, hungry bear somewhere I could face down, instead?) when Nancy spotted me across the parking lot and walked across to pull me over to her circle.

    It actually fit in very well with Doug’s sermon: Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns over all the earth. As joint heirs with Christ, we have been humbled with Him in death and exalted with Him as joint heirs. So Nancy, who reigns as gracious hostess in her own home, can do so as well when she’s 3,000 miles away! Of course the rest of us can, too, but Nancy gave yesterday’s object lesson. 😉

  8. Valerie, I’m trying not to envy the fact that you can just pick up and drive 4 hours and do that. 🙂 Maybe you can help me figure out how I can get to Moscow for the “Grace Agenda” conference this September???? Right now I’m trying to get our family (2 adults 4 kids, one is 3 months) ready to leave tomorrow for a cross-country drive to Pittsburgh.

    I know too well the consequences of being a ding dong parent. I’ve had my share of some major ding dongness. 🙂 Thanks for the post, Nancy.

  9. Krista,
    Actually, Detroit airport was great. But we were boarding momentarily, and typing with my thumbs is not my best:)

  10. A line from a pop song has been going through my head all day in response to this post: “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter.” It’s a song about a girl who who has defied her evidently neglectful father by fornicating with some guy. She thinks that’s being rebellious, but she’s really just being exactly what he raised her to be: “…sometimes they become as foolish as their parents.” She’s gone from a father who didn’t fulfill his responsibilities for her to a guy who’s giving her vague promises of “I’ll never leave you alone,” while using her without really committing to her.

  11. Sandy,
    I have a good book to recommend to you on this whole subject. It’s Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl, by N.D. Wilson. It will help you with this whole problem of evil and God’s sovereignty. And it’s a very fun read.

  12. Thanks for the insight. It would be nice if perhaps you could address what happens when moron parents become verbally/emotionally abusive parents. It seems there are lines to be crossed at different levels, but it can be hard knowing when/how to deal with them.

  13. You have much wisdom. My parents did a great (wonderful!) job raising us, and I am soooo very thankful for my upbringing, but ..I have seen the micromanagement and how it stifles.

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