I read an interesting quote today.  The whole article is here  if you’re interested–it’s about homeschooling expectations.  But the part that caught my interest was this:

When we are preoccupied with outward form our focus tends to become shallow and behavior oriented. We look upon our children as if they are roses that can be trained to grow a certain direction by constant pruning and binding. Subsequently, we rely heavily upon our authority in an attempt to bring our children under our total control. We assume if we give them the Word of God, shelter them from harmful influences, discipline them consistently, and maintain high standards for their outside, that their inside will inevitably be shaped.

I guess the picture that came to my mind as I read this was a Chinese woman’s foot.  Remember how they used to bind them when they were small, because tiny feet were considered beautiful?  If the feet are bound and not allowed to grow properly, they do remain small, so the outward appearance is “right” (according to their culture.)  However, when her feet are bound the girl is subjected to a great deal of pain,  bones are broken, and the result is that her feet grow in contorted shapes, so she is essentially crippled for life.  If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, there are pictures of what it looked like here and here .

It has always amazed me that anyone would willingly subject their child to such torture, but try to realize that those parents were trying to do what they thought would be best for the girl’s future.  If she had huge, ugly (normal!) feet, she would never be accepted as a wife, and would live her life rejected and alone and poor.  Never mind if she couldn’t walk more than a few steps–that kept her in her place!

I had to think that essentially the same thing can be done on an emotional level.  How easy it is to believe that we have the perfect formula, that we know how to live right, and then try to force others into that same box!  But when we do that, we are only shaping the outside.  We have absolutely no way to control the inside.  The inside can continue to grow, ugly and deformed, contorted in unbelievable ways, while the outside looks just the way we want it to. 

Think about that in the context of child-raising.  Think about it in the context of religion.  Sad, isn’t it?  It makes twisted, crippled feet look like a very small problem!

How much more loving to win the heart, to appeal to the spirit, rather than to press into a mold!  Aren’t we thankful that our Lord deals with us just this way? 

Thank you Lord, for releasing us from bondage!


About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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5 Responses to

  1. When we are preoccupied with outward form our focus tends to become shallow and behavior oriented.
    I’ve met a few people like that!

  2. samcgarber says:

    Yes.  I am thankful that the Lord heals rather than cripples.  Thank you for sharing your insight about it.  I think you are a very gifted home educator. 

  3. I mean in no way to detract from your post, but along the lines of homeschooling, have you ever hear the thought promoted that homeschooling children can often (although not always) hinder their interaction with other youth of their age?  Not that they cannot get along, but that with us as their teachers or primary interactants (those who have children in this situation) they are often forced to grow up too fast (for lack of a better term) in some aspects due to a primarily adult environment and cannot relate as fully to other youth, or that their social relation skills are devoid of some of those skills or norms common to their fellow youth?  This sounds far more drastic than what I’m trying to say, but maybe just read the first sentence in this paragraph.

  4. Btw, is that Harps of Praise (Reuben Hostetler’s children; Joel, Darlene, Daisy and Joshua) playing in the background?

  5. homefire says:

    Wow, Sam, thanks!  That’s a BIG compliment!
    Chris, I think I’ll address your question in another post.  I do have an opinion on that–can ya believe it?  LOL! 
    Nope, not Harps of Praise, though I love theirs (and want a harp of my own!)  I didn’t take the time to figure out how to upload something.  This is just a harp clip I found online.

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