I knew I couldn’t be alone. Although America is still mostly a Judeo-Christian society, it turns out parents are eschewing Biblical ideals in favor of good old-fashioned experience and going from the gut.
A new survey from the LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention says only one fifth of American parents turn to religion for guidance as they raise their kids. Ninety-six percent of parents say they want – and strive – to be better parents.
Of course, coming out of a Christian organization, the findings are being used to criticize parents. In fact, Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, likens those of us who refuse to turn to religion for guidance as “toddlers.”
The inference that religion holds the only answer to parenting has always rubbed me the wrong way. Let me be clear – for some parents, it provide answers. There’s nothing wrong with families who turn to their Bible (or for that matter their Koran) for guidance. But there ARE other answers, including the “lead by example” method that this survey shows a majority of parents have embraced.
We look at what our parents did and pick and choose what worked and what didn’t. It’s time-tested and parent-approved. It’s called evolution, folks, and it works.
McConnell’s statements are perhaps most bothersome because of a frequent envelope that’s arrived on my doorstep, filled with the “good news of the Lord.” They started directly after I wrote in my weekly column for my local newspaper that I was struggling with how to tell my daughter that her babysitter’s husband had passed away. The first one was accompanied by a note, instructing me to turn to my Bible to learn how to be a better parent. They became more frequent after I wrote a piece in support of gay marriage, apparently as a reminder that this person doesn’t think I’m making any progress.
I was raised in a Catholic household, and although I have my qualms about some of what I was taught, there was one thing of which I’m appreciate to this day. I was brought up in a church that preached modeling behaviors rather than foisting beliefs on others. I was raised to believe that kids need are good role models.
In other words – we, the parents, the former kids, were raised by our best role models for parenting. Using those examples to parent – whether it’s doing what they did or using their actions as examples of what NOT to do – is the very best way to parent.
What do you think?
Image: Throne of His Glory