What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Torah parenting - Adam and Eve

The theme of my website is "Torah family living." How can we apply Torah to everyday family life? What does the Torah say about parenting? Can we go beyond Deuteronomy chapter six, and the teaching that rebellious children are to be stoned? I think we can. But it might require a little thinking outside the box. :)

YHVH is our Heavenly Father, so it is not a stretch to say that He deals with us, the children of Israel, as a parent deals with children. Perhaps as we look at how He deals with His children, we can learn how to better deal with our children.

Our first stop is Genesis chapter 3, where we find the first sin.

(Gen 3:8)  And they heard the sound of Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adand his wife hid themselves from the presence of Elohim among the trees of the garden.
(Gen 3:9)  And Elohim called unto Adand said to him, “Where are you?”
(Gen 3:10)  And he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
(Gen 3:11)  And He said, “Who made you know that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
(Gen 3:12)  And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.”
(Gen 3:13)  And Elohim said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(Gen 3:14)  And Elohim said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you are to go, and eat dust all the days of your life.
(Gen 3:15)  “And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed1. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel.”
(Gen 3:16)  To the woman He said, “I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception – bring forth children in pain. And your desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you.”
(Gen 3:17)  And to the man He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘Do not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you are to eat of it all the days of your life,
(Gen 3:18)  and the ground shall bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field.
(Gen 3:19)  “By the sweat of your face you are to eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you return.”

We've all been there. You walk into a room and see children with sticks, poised for the attack. One is sneaking up from behind, ready to throw a blanket over someone's head. The first thing that comes out of most parents' mouths is, "Who started it?"

But YHVH handles things a little differently. He walks into a situation and immediately senses that things are amiss. He knows they are hiding something, but He doesn't ask who the instigator was. He calmly begins an interrogation to find out what happened. He gives each person a fair shake at a response. He doesn't challenge their answers, even though they are unbelievably lame, and obviously excuses. Then He punishes everybody, because everybody did something wrong. I don't  know why many parents don't see that. We try to punish the person that started the mess. But if criminals were treated the same way, only the first robber through the bank door would be arrested. Rarely are there innocent bystanders in childhood quarrels. Someone may have started it, yes, but someone else will invariably finish it. So YHVH punishes everyone, but He does not dish out the same punishment to everyone. Satan crawls on his belly in the dust. Eve will have pain in childbearing, and Adam will work the ground by the sweat of his brow. Each one was given appropriate punishment for them individually. Children should be dealt with the same way, if possible. One child needs a stern talking-to, while another should lose priveleges, etc.

To summarize:
1. Don't look for instigators. Recognize the guilt in multiple parties.
2. Calmly collect the facts from each person.
3. Give each person a chance to give their side of the story without interruption, particularly from you.
4. Punish all who took part.
5. Give punishment suitable for the individual child. Punishing in a separate room allows you to give individualized attention without children comparing notes. For example, my husband disciplines in our bedroom. One child needs a gentle verbal reminder to obey, another may need a few swats and a talking-to. Then he can give them a hug, etc. and restore the relationship.

Happy Torah parenting!


Mommy Set Free said...

SAGE WORDS! Excellant Post! I agree with this fully! When my 3 mid small children are in confrontation (4,5,7) I too have learned that it is not "the same" punishment/justice for them all. Here is a easy example using my toddler: My now 18 month old who is in the mix of the "big kids" and needs to be trained in "appropriate play". It is not OK, for him to bop his sister over the head with a plastic horse or send a book flying accross the room (for any reason)...and we will teach him that and give consequences when He chooses to "do it anyway"...but if one of my older children where to do that same thing...well - their consequences would be much greater - because "they know better". That is an easy example.

It gets a little more complicated when the children that are closer in age are bickering or "bossing" or displaying (a multitude) of unkind/selfish behaviors toward one another....those types of things...but these principlas you have layed out still apply! (To every form of disobediance actually!) We have had some "special circumsatnces" because of our girls being adopted 2 years ago and having to learn to bond, trust, learn the language, culture and family rule after /communicate with us and having lived the majority of their lives in an orphanage prior to coming home...but now...things have evened out and we can apply these principals again because the "BASICS" mentioned above, that we take for granted with our birth children have finally been established. (Halleluyah!) It is a beautiful thing! It is Yah's way! He is SO good! His pricipals are eternal and for every family - no matter the "circumstances". I don't know how parents "parent" without Him...I couldn't!

Anonymous said...

These are great thoughts, Heidi. I'll have to save this one to reread later. We as parents are a child's first glimpse of who YHVH is. He's the ultimate "parent", we should follow likewise! :).

singing mama said...

Good post Heidi!
It makes SO much sense! And reminds me why I was so frustrated with one of my little sisters growing up (she was a year younger than me), she would push and push at you and if you retaliated you were always the one who got into trouble.
I have been praying and thinking about different discipline strategies now that the youngest 2 are starting to fight and so it is good to have wisdom straight from the scriptures!
Luv Donna

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