Deist Parenting

Deism was a religious and philosophical viewpoint held by some–Thomas Jefferson perhaps being the most famous–that said God created the universe with its natural laws and systems and then removed Himself from direct contact, communication and interaction with it. 

When I read the NY Times Article and subsequent blog post by Al Mohler, Stop Texting and Read This — The Thumb You Save May Be Your Own–I was struck by the analogy of “Deist Parenting.”

Children and teens are sending over 2000 text messages per month. This is a problem, but it isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that parents have given birth to their children, have given them the money, information, and equipment they think they need to thrive, and then they have left them alone. No contact. No communication. No  interaction. As parents, they are following a “Deist” view of God. They have removed themselves from providing the discerning guidance their children so desparately need.

In this particular situation, Mohler wisely advises:

Teens should not be allowed to sleep with cell phones in the bedroom, and parents need to set clear parameters for the use of phones for both voice calls and text messages.  Commonsense rules will go a long way toward restoring sanity.

This should be obvious advice, but unfortunately it is not, for we have a society of “Deist Parents.”

The Bible gives a very different perspective on parenting. Parents are to consistently and frequently be involved in contact with (some contact more direct than other!), communication with, and interaction with their children.  Not in the digitized, schizophrenic arena of text messaging and facebook, but in personal, eye-to-eye, arm in arm contact. This kind of contact trains a child in wisdom and discernment, and then releases them to use that equipping in their lives as they grow older.

God help us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, [so that] Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proberbs 22:6)

Deist parenting allows a child to go his own way. Godly parenting shows children the way he or she should go, because we are walking in touch alongside them.

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