# V Commandment on the Right Way to (and Not To) Care For Your Kids

V: Never correct a child about every little thing they do that pisses you off.

There will be plenty! Life is annoying!

Turning a blind eye to most “bad” things kids do is the secret to good parenting. Bite your tongue!

Pick what matters – rudeness for instance or things that will mark your kid as a dolt like picking their nose in public – and let most other annoying things they do slide. Kids do grow out of bad habits.

Trust me! I gave up all hope about my kids repeatedly and made dire predictions. I was proved wrong!

And the only way to teach a life lessons is by doing rather than saying.

Want little barbarians? Then feed them lousy food in plastic cups on the kitchen counter while you’re too busy to eat with them or worse ignoring them and texting a friend, calling your sister or watching something on some screen.

Want civilized human beings? Make dinner, teach children to eat off china, drink from a glass, never order “child food” but only real food, have them assume that holding a fork and sitting through the meal is normal because its what you do.

Toss all those rubber-coated spoons and “sippy-cups!”

Want young adults and not “teens?” Start as you mean to go on. What lifetime do you think they’ll learn to be civilized in if civilized life never happens at home?

It’s far more important to serve your children a meal and to use the “good china” than to serve guests graciously. You can have more guests later but you’ll only get one bite at this apple.

Start early, start right. Let your grownup guests eat off plastic and get nuggets for supper! For God’s sake treat your kids in a way that introduces them to being the kind of people who can navigate the world gracefully.

(to be continued in this space tomorrow…)

To book Frank Schaeffer to speak at your college, church or group contact him at Frankschaeffer.com 

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Love this one. There’s wisdom here on so many different levels! Keep it up, Bro.

  • Molly Hollis

    Good advise, Frank. It’s simply getting back to basics Eating together as a family is important, and starting out right or leading by example is even better. I remember as a small child, my parents would take our family (five children) into San Francisco on Sundays. We would visit Golden Gate Park, or go to a movie, and then would have dinner in North Beach. As children, we learned fast how to behave in and out of public! My father was a stickler for good manners. Put a napkin in our lap, take a slice of french bread and break it into bite size pieces (we always wanted to butter the whole piece and just eat it!). Never reach across the table for something, just ask for someone to pass it to you. Dad called this one, “the boarding house reach” and would say, “Try that again, and you’ll pull back a bloody stump”. My husband and I passed many of these simple manners onto our children. There were years where we cleaned up spilled milk every single night when the kids were going growing, it goes with the territory. Now their all adults. Funny enough, they have commented to us so many of their friends have the worse manners!

  • Lolo

    This was a lovely entry, Frank, and one that has the essence of your mother about it. I read her Hidden Art of Homemaking 25 years ago, when I was a 20 yo newlywed homemaker, and did what I could (on a limited budget) to make our home civilized and beautiful. (I appreciated her suggestion of dressing children alike when taking them on airplanes – which did work to soften the attitude of the child-free passengers around us!) I also cherished your sister Susan’s book For the Children’s Sake, which led me to homeschool all three of our children. (Now superb human beings at 23, 18 & 14 who is still homeschooling.) Much has changed in those 25 years regarding general Christian attitudes and behavior – for ex. I feel I must lean (what would be called) politically decidedly left to follow in Christ’s footsteps. However, the civility, kindness, respect for childhood and children as persons and not objects, and the beauty and importance of culture given through your mother’s and sister’s books made a lasting mark on me and our family. Whether those things were played out in their real lives, I don’t know – and it doesn’t matter in the end. They both inspired me greatly to being a better person and better mother, and as someone who came from a toxic upbringing, I was glad to have civilized and gentle advice. Thank you.