Fried chicken tells me how much the world has changed. And I don’t just mean that no one actually fries chicken anymore. No, I’m talking about something more profound than Colonel Sanders.
I am talking about the cataclysmic issue of childhood and chicken parts.
If you ask anyone my age or younger, you will find that as kinds, we pretty much got the chicken pieces we liked the best – drumsticks, thighs, etc.
But talk to anyone a generation older and they’ll tell you that things were very different in their day. Adults got first choice from the serving platter, and children gnawed on whatever gnarly pieces were left – wings, back, saddle, etc.
To be honest, I had a hard time believing those stories when I was a kid. I couldn’t believe that things could change so much in one generation.
But now I have no trouble believing it. Because in one more generation, I have seen children go from choosing chicken parts to choosing the menu – and whether it will be eaten at the table on the floor, in front of the television or on the tube slide at McDonalds.
Somebody stop me before I say “These kids today …”
Ooops. Too late.
But what I really mean to say is “these parents today.” Including me.
We chicken pickers seem to have lost our way as parents, and worst of all, it’s our children who pay the price.
I was tickled to see stories in the newspaper recently on the subject of permissive parenting. I have really begun to believe that’s the root of so many problems around us today.
After some 30 years in practice, a child psychiatrist stumbled upon an amazing resource in the child guidance field – the Bible. The result was his new book Golden Rules for Parenting – A child Psychiatrist Discovers the Bible.
Reading the book, I was struck by a short, powerful passage under the heading “Permissive Parenting.”
“Child psychiatrists have an undeserved reputation of encouraging permissive parenting. We, of all people, realize the great harm done to children when their parents do not discipline.
“Such children frequently become our patients with symptoms of temper tantrums, defiance, rage, low frustration tolerance, depression, vandalism, criminality, poor school adjustment and drug use.
“According to the Bible and psychological theory, discipline is an essential feature of parent/child interaction. It should be administered as a part of parents’ LOVE for their child.
“God told John in Revelation 3:19 ‘I continually discipline and punish everyone I love.’ Solomon in Proverbs 13:24 says, ‘if you refuse to discipline your son, it proves you don’t love him; for if you love him you will be prompt to punish him.’
“It has been my experience that adults who seem the most consistently loving to others and who have the best relationship with their own parents were raised in homes where discipline was clear, fair and firm. These adults do not look back on their childhood as harsh or abusive. They tell with amusement and fondness of times when they as children were disciplined by parents for bad behavior. There is a sense of price in their parents and themselves for the lessons they learned.
“Proverbs 29:17 says, ‘Discipline your son and he will give you happiness and peace of mind.’ On the other hand, I have seen young children and adolescents who have not been disciplined and they DESPISE their parents.
“In 1 Kings 1:6, the explanation for King David’s son, Adonijah, turning against his father was that King David had never disciplined him at any time.”
Two things jump out at me in that little passage. First, good discipline is clear, firm and fair. And second, it is LOVE.
Listen, I don’t hold myself out as a model parent, or as a religious zealot, but like the psychiatrist, I know good advice when I hear it.
And I know hurting children when I see them. Everywhere.