parenting for others

i have never quoted scripture before - mainly b/c i have never had to memorize scripture and the only time i read it is during mass.  this was yesterday's Ash Wednesday Gospel reading

Matthew 6: 16-21
"and whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting.  Truly i tell you, they have received their reward.  but when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret: and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 

"do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  for where your treaure is, there your heart will be also."

while i believe the message of the reading can be applied to many areas of our life - what i thought about immediately after reading the first paragraph was the people i run into day to day who parent loudly - you know the ones....you are in a group of families and suddenly hear a voice above all the others disciplining their child.

"no you can't have that - do you think we are made of money?"

"i told you you can't do that and that's that!"

"i said stop right now and i am the boss!"

usually there is uncomfortable laughter (i don't know about you but i always feel like i have to laugh at something i am appalled at - like a racist comment or loud parenting.  its like i don't want to offend the person who is being offensive!), sideway glances, subtle movements away from the "scene".  i feel horrible for the child.  i am not suggesting that children don't need some "gentle reminders" (lol) now and again in public - but what they don't need is to be humiliated in front of everyone.  i don't want to be treated like that!  but nonetheless - it happens. 

this can also happen with praising loudly too.  there may not be uncomfortable laughter or sidewards glances - but you might find some eye rolls!  of course - i doubt many people object to being praised in front of people....but i can imagine it can be uncomfortable for some.

so what is the message when parenting loudly?  does the praise mean less to the recipient when its put on display for all to hear? do wounds cut deeper when they are not private? my guess is yes - absolutely.  what is the parent's goal in being so loud??? are they masking their own insecurities?  maybe they are thinking the following:  if my child is acting horribly - is this a reflection on me - oh no its not and i'm going to let everyone know that i don't approve!-or-if my child is so wonderful - THIS must be because of me - so i am letting everyone know!

really what can you do when you find yourself in this situation?  not much really - except hopefully realize tht that isn't the best thing to do and avoid it doing it yourself.  some of the best experiences are ones that show you what you DON'T want to do!  nothing good comes out of parenting loudly.

take the time to think of all wonderful things that could happen if everyone stopped trying to put on a show for others to see. 

head on over to the heart's campaign to get info about sending in your blankets!


  1. This is truly a wonderful post. I am continually praying for peace and a loving heart with my children - doesn't always happen, but I keep praying.
    Warm wishes,

  2. "take the time to think of all wonderful things that could happen if everyone stopped trying to put on a show for others to see."-- LOVE this line, it is so true!!

    I hate being praised or reprimanded in front of others. It's embarrassing to me and I try not to do it with my own children. I'll take your praise and your constructive criticism, just quietly and lovingly. My children are no different. Your post is a good reminder, thanks!