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Sunday, July 9, 2017


This post will take Strict Father rule (or, mostly, misrule) as articulated by George Lakoff in his most recent post at --and, I hope, rip it to shreds. Theologically as well as in other ways. And where will I start? Why, where else but in the Bible itself?
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4, NIV. And again: "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Colossians 3:21, NIV. Based on what I know of Lakoff's Strict Father paradigm, it is hard for me to see how anyone having the misfortune to exist in it would not become embittered. Or does seeing others punished severely mitigate that bitterness? Probably if you're one of those holding the power you may like 'riding and whipping [others] as you like', to paraphrase a Chinese saying.
The bible from which I quote is a study Bible and apropos of the last quotation, there is this note:
"Children must be handled with care." True. "They need firm (and FAIR) discipline administered in love." Again, true. Parentheses mine. "Don't alienate them by nagging, deriding or destroying their self-respect so that they lose heart." VERY true! Parents (not just fathers) also need to let children know when they have done right. Punishing wrong actions but not reacting at all to right actions, aside from, perhaps, a growled "you only did what you should have" is part of such exasperation and embitterment. Sooner or later, children brought up that way will either go insane in the way that those who'd rather devour Trumperies and/or other conspiracy theories (and Russia and the Arab/Muslim world are far worse this way than the West) rather than hear hard truths have done--or they will correctly conclude that there is no pleasing one or more parents and give up on trying!
Firm and fair discipline needs to be a part of rearing children, yes---but only part of it! Some who know a thing or two about children will say that every sharp "No!" needs ten affirmatives to avoid such discouragement as Paul mentions. And in a country which wants to remain a free country, children must be encouraged to ask questions and to seek out answers for themselves. Children who are taught blind obedience become German Michels. Just ask any German with at least a rudimentary knowledge of their own history what that means. They'll tell you what it is and how thinking of themselves that way led Germany to catastrophe in 1918 and again in 1945. Thanks to those who live by the Strict Father paradigm, we are in serious peril of losing our freedoms right here, right now!!
And the problem with many of those brought up in the Nurturing Family paradigm is that they seem to have lost the spine and/or gonads to know that negotiations with bigots and bullies of any and all cultures and colors is impossible and what both require (at least if they persist after warnings and explanations) are sharp, short slapdowns! There's the time to 'put some stick about', to use a good British expression.
It is against bullies, bigots and the ways our system is slanted in favor of white males in particular, and in favor of 'white haves' in general, that strength needs to be applied. Each culture, if it wants to be termed a 'civilization', needs to take its own measures against being skewed in favor of a particular dominant group. I should mention that, by such a measure, the West is far ahead of the rest, although that's not to say by any means that there's not considerable room for improvement on our part too. I simply mention race because, in the West, it's a large factor in determining who gets what. The same is true of other races and groups in other cultures.
But of Lakoff's two paradigms, only the Nurturing Family makes room for such improvement.
And wouldn't God agree that each individual, and all societies, could use considerable improvement to get at least somewhat closer to what He surely wants for all His children--to end hunger, hatred and ruin of nature and to stop judging each other as if we could see what's inside each other as well as outside? I believe He would, and anyone who thinks that this is not a worthy goal for which to strive--well, I could argue with you, but I'll suggest y'all go and talk to the Boss (NO, I don't mean Bruce, although he'll probably tell you much the same thing!) first and argue it with Him! I mean, He is the one Who set it all up, right?
I think He's already given us an idea of how He will respond to all you obnoxious Elder Siblings (I'm one, btw). Take another look at Luke 15:11-31. That's how He responds and that's the response He wants from us if you mean to call yourselves Jesus's followers. Think twice before responding as the Elder Brother did, all y'all Strict Father folks! And until you do so think, keep your hypocrisies (by which you, when curtailed in persecuting others, howl you are being persecuted!) to yourselves!

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