can we speak of Democracy or Freedom when from the very beginning of
life we mold the child to undergo tyranny, to obey a dictator? How can
we expect democracy when we have reared slaves? Real freedom begins at
the beginning of life, not at the adult stage. These people who have
been diminished in their powers, made short-sighted, devitalized by
mental fatigue, whose bodies have become distorted, whose wills have
been broken by elders who say: “your will must disappear and mine
prevail!”—how can we expect them, when school-life is finished, to
accept and use the rights of freedom?"
Sometimes I am surprised by the thoughts and ideas I carry with me into my parenting journey. Before I had children I bought into the mainstream idea that my main goal as a parent was to control their behavior. I envisioned lovely times out in public where the slightest sign of disobedience would be immediately corrected by simply giving them "the look". I knew that no matter how strong their wills were, mine would be stronger. I now realize that I was planning to go to war with my children long before they were born.
I can see how easy the trap is. Our society's measure of successful parenting is more focused on developing quiet compliance than it is developing whole individuals, especially in the early years. The most age appropriate behavior is often frowned upon in public, even at supposedly family-friendly locations. The sentiments of "control your child" is everywhere. And let's face it, it's certainly easier in the short term to demand compliance at any cost.
I long to make my home a place of peace where the love of Christ reigns. There is enough war outside our walls already. I don't have any great ideas on how to walk this path. Sometimes I don't even know how to take the first step. But I know one thing... my children are not my enemy and if I focus on winning, we will all lose.