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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

 How to prepare your kid to join a cult

Author and pastor Reb Bradley wrote a book that uses biblical wisdom [sic] as its basis. Entitled simply "Child Training Tips," Bradley warns against the "child-run" home, where decisions are made or influenced by the children. To re-establish control of the home, he writes, parents must:
  1. Keep your objective in mind – subjection of their will
  2. Require quick obedience
  3. Teach your children to obey without being told "why."

I am a father, and I find this to be literally sickening. The last thing I would ever do to my four wonderful kids is crush their free will, and train them to obey (quickly), and not think for themselves. WTF is this asshole thinking? Sir, are your children mere automatons?

A bit of advice to new parents from a veteran parent: if you want to maximize the chance that your child will fall prey to a cult, teach them like Bradley. When your children are older, and all they know how to do is obey, they will: to the first "leader" that comes along. David Koresh and Jim Jones and their ilk do not find their recruits among critical thinkers, be they atheists, scientists, or even Christian humanists.

You must teach children how to think for themselves. Yes, fundies, this will increase the chance that they may reject your religion. So what? What are you afraid of? That your beliefs will not stand up to scrutiny? If so... perhaps your beliefs are wrong.


Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

Unfortunately, it seems like Americans have, for generations, been subjected to this sort of child-raising philosophy. How else can we account for the unswerving, unquestioning, fanatical loyalty to a presidential administration that is obviously corrupt and operating without America’s best interests in mind? People in America no longer learn to think critically, in part because the Christian Right has demonized free, rational thought as leading to evil. The best way to keep a culture docile and complacent is to unconsciously convince them that they can’t think for themselves. This is what the majority of Christianity (and now the Christian Right) has always done.

I too am a father. I think the best we can do for our children is to foster in them their own abilities to think critically. A healthy dose of skepticism is a wonderful thing; many will try to tell you that skepticism leads to an unhealthy, pessimistic attitude, but I disagree. I suggest that instead, it leads to a free mind that can more fully and completely appreciate the things we should really value—liberty, freedom, compassion, etc. We should teach our children to question everything. Unwavering faith in anything is ridiculous and downright dangerous.

Remember that Benjamin Franklin said, “Distrust and caution are the parents of security.”

2:00 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Firstly I would like to respond to the comment above, 51% of those that voted do fall under that category. But please don't group those of us that are able to think with that group. Not ALL americans fall are as you state Joel.

As to the post, I have two boys myself, the oldest being 13, and I have always taught them to think for themselves. And any decision being made, they are to be included. After all, the decisions made will impact their lives as well. And they should have a voice and be heard.

My boys know to question and always ask why. I want them to be prepared for life. And only way to understand is by questioning.

Too bad so many don't see that.

2:14 PM  
Blogger wjoelbrooks said...

I stand mildly corrected. Admittedly, I should not have used the phrases "Americans . . ." or "All Americans . . . ." What I should have written is "Many Americans . . ." or perhaps "An uncomfortably large portion of Americans . . ." or even "The Christian Right in America . . . ."

I know that not every American is a proto-fascist, neo-conservative, right-wing, religion-wielding nut job, but unfortunately, many are.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

Are you all the parents of those rotten brats in the store that knock things down and never listen to their parents? I detest those parents. When I tell my boys no they never ask why, I hope they will always ask why they are here and learn all they can to better themselves. But they way you talk here it seems to me that you are all those nut job "disipline is bad" people.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

I hate those brats, too!

I hope you are not conflating "discipline" with physical violence: we certainly employ the former; never the latter. The result? My wife and I regularly receive compliments on how well-behaved our children are. Really. A LOT.

Children should be taught to think for themselves. If you succeed in that, good behavior will follow naturally. I seek to raise good persons, not obedient automatons. That is a more difficult task that Bradley lays out, but the extra effort is worth it.

Try this: when you give your boys an order and one asks "why?" instead of slapping him upside the head, or tieing him up and hitting him with a belt (or whatever you do...) explain yourself to him respectfully. I will bet you the next time you find yourselves in a similar situation your son will not need to ask why.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Well you have me laughing. I don't smack them upside the head. My boys know when I say no that I have good reason. They learned that from me, I talk with them all the time. They don't ask me why when I say no because they know there is no hope in changing my mind. But when I talk about good disipline it doesn't need to be physical, but the ocasional threat of it sure gets them to think I just might do what I said since I always do. A good example I give parents who ask me how I managed to raise three such well behaved, well mannered, respectful boys is this. You explain to them at an early age that what you tell them is for their own good, set rules and give the consequences to those rules if they are broken, and ALWAYS follow through. I once told my boys if they are playing out in the neighborhood in the afternoon and I call them for dinner that I will call three times, if they don't show and I have to look for them they go to bed without dinner when I find them. I told them if you think you are outside of earshot of my voice then you come in and tell me where you are. One day they were out and only one heard me, the other two were asked when I found them down the street a little too far to hear me, "what does this mean?" I received the answer to the question exactly as I told them, they went home changed into bed clothes and went to bed without me saying another word. And that was the last time they received that punishment it was four years ago.

I will add that I have been raising these boys on my own with no help from their mom and little help from others for 8 years now. She left when my youngest was 3 months old and we haven't seen her since. Occasionally a child needs a good "kick in the ass" so to speak, most often they don't if a parent doesn't need one theirself.

I did joke one time after church with a woman who was pregnate when she asked me "How do you raise such well behaved boys? I am having my first child." I looked at her and said straight faced, "Daily beatings." She didn't know me very well and her face almost went pail. I had to appologize and through my laughter and I told her, "It is simply a matter of being very patient"

7:48 PM  

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