Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Character in Parenting

Yesterday, two columnists at Townhall.com, Mike Adams and Rebecca Hagelin, touched on the issue of parenting, especially how a parent's character can influence his or her children.

In his column, Adams wrote about a ski trip he helped chaperone for a church youth group last winter: . . .

One of the other chaperones was a former hippie from the 1960s. He's not really a hippie anymore, although he's still a liberal. Now he's raising four kids. . . .

[B]efore the trip was over, the [youngest] kid started bragging about how his family had twenty pairs of ski goggles, although they hadn't paid for a single one. "When someone leaves them at a table in the ski lodge, we just take them, don't we daddy?" My fellow chaperone quickly replied, "No, son! Shut up and stop being so annoying!" It was the only form of discipline to come from former-hippie-turned-daddy all weekend.

You'll have to read the entire column to get Mike's full and humorous take on the ill-effects liberalism can have on parenting.

Meanwhile, Hagelin's column, which discussed Betsy Hart's new book, It Takes a Parent, talked about the need for parents to persevere in their efforts to teach good character:

Most parents have solid instincts about what's right and wrong, and they have a pretty good sense of how to raise their children to understand one from the other. These parents make mistakes -- we all do -- but they learn from them. The trick is in sticking with it, day after day, for years.

But as Betsy points out in her wise and readable book, stick with it we must. Why? Because we love our children -- even when they're unlovable. And because, as she puts it in a theme that recurs throughout the book, "We need to be on a rescue mission for our children's hearts." The reason is simple: What we do is a reflection of our character. If we persevere in planting good virtues in our children, we won't have to worry so much about how they will behave under pressure. (Of course, we'll never stop worrying altogether -- we are parents, after all.) . . .

Why go to this trouble? Because, Betsy says, "Children are not born with wisdom. Wisdom is gained only through experience or through the experience of watching or learning from others and being able to apply that experience to ourselves. These things require maturity, and they require parents, and other adults, who are willing to properly interpret such experiences for children."

49 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 6:36:00 AM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Sad, Mickey, this need to generalize about some nebulous group of "others," these lying stealing crypto-racist "liberals," and to do so based on a not-terribly-believable account of a ski trip.

Sadder still to project that onto the family lives and children of so many of your neighbors.

I'll skip the Bible verses about loving your neighbor and judging not, not mention bearing false witness. Adams obviously did.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:02:00 AM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

Sad to say that I've seen "Christian conservatives" act just as "wacky" in other situations with their children. This was probably after taking a Sunday School class on "Raising Godly Children." It is difficult to be a good parent even when you try consistently.

My babies are grown and gone but I am often haunted by, "What could I have done better?" My advice: A parents' character does count for much more than most think but, for heaven's sake, don't forget to love them all you can and at every opportunity.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:21:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy Mike's column, Ed. What makes me sad is witnessing the negative effect moral relativism is having on our culture, especially with our children. It sure makes a parent's job more difficult in teaching kids the difference between right and wrong.

Since you believe Mike is lying about his experience on this ski trip, do you have anything other than your opinion to back up your accusation?

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

Mike Adams attempts to use a scrubbed-up anecdote to make sweeping judgments about the character and fitness of parents based on political ideology. That's dumb, mean, and wrong.

However, if we're playing that game, then let's at least finish it. Conservative Christians are bad parents. How does that sit?

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:47:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

So now we are conflating moral relativism with liberalism? You know where I've recently seen the most blatant examples of pick-and-choose morality? From the conservatives on this blog. The only difference is that here, it is combined with a self-righteous claim to know the mind of God and used to condemn other people.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:58:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Ed,

While I'm thinking of it, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your column on your family's separate vacations. It brought back a lot of my own memories. One thing I can tell you is that you will have plenty of "Adult Time" sooner than you think.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

The story just smells a little fishy, Mickey, but it could be exactly true with no "comic" embroidery of the details, and what would it really tell us about "liberals" as a group? Nothing. As Alex said in his comment, jerky parents come from all backgrounds and ideologies.

The larger issue I am raising is this willingness to demonize entire groups of people, and to write them off because they feel differently than you do about, say, the role of government in healthcare, or they go to another church or belong to another faith.

Part of the problem is the amorphous terminology. What is a "liberal" in this conversation. Anyone who voted for Kerry? Anyone who is not a Biblical literalist? It's a construction without a definition, set up to be torn down.

Do you really doubt that many people who you would define as "liberals" are fine parents and
decent people? Do you really think that "conservatives" have a lock on virtue and good parenting?

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:08:00 AM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Alex, thanks for the note on the column. I did enjoy a little time alone with the dog. Not sure how I'll adjust to a truly empty nest -- mine are still middle schoolers, and I am semi-dreading the prospect.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Mr. Sun,

I could not connect to your article. Have you got an address?

Roch101,

You're just getting downright cranky. I'm worried about you.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

Jeb Bush's youngest son in Texas booze, resisting arrest:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0916052bush1.html

Jeb Bush's daughter in booze and prescription fraud arrest:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/noellebush1.html

I wouldn't dream of making broad judgements about Conservative Christians based on this. Mike Adams, however, has God on his side.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Alex, I'm just wondering what, other than moral relativism, allows one to quote scripture to support their beliefs on same sex marriage, but doesn't also have them demanding that the marriage laws:

- Outlaw re-marriage for people who have been divorced?

- Prohibit re-marriage by widows (unless to their borther in-law)

- Prohibit marriage between people of different races

- Outlaw marriages between Christians and non-Christians

- Prohibit a man from marring a woman if he has had sexual thoughts about another woman

- Require that marriage vows include a promise by the wife to obey her husband

- Prohibit pastors from marrying a woman who is not a virgin

- Require that rapists marry their victims

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Roch,

I just answered that in the "Marriage" article.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:29:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

"I just answered that in the "Marriage" article."

Which is to say that you offered a perfect example of moral relitivism by selectively dismissing all the scriptures that speak about marriage so that you can cling to one in the New Testament that doesn't even address marriage in order to maintain your prejudices. So be it. But the myth that only liberals engange in selective morality is exploded by your answer.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:13:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

WOW! Roch. You just amaze me. I had no idea how truly ignorant I am when it comes to the Bible. I'm so glad there are people like you to help me see the light. Your kindness is overwhelming. I think I'm in love. No! I take that back. But God probably does.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 4:59:00 PM, Anonymous ed cone said...

Sigh. I was hoping we might actually talk about the subject I raised in response to the Adams column. Thanks for trying, Mr. Sun.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:21:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

So, who ordained this as beat the hell out of Mickey McLean week? Seems his site is like sugar to a honeybee for liberal minded folks looking for someone to badger and berate. I mean Ed Cone is as thoroughly liberal as I’ve ever read anyone (he could work for Slate), but I don’t see conservatives piling up on him week after week, day after day, like is done here on Mickey. And Mr. Sun (blessed be his Nordic Highness, no disrespect intended), but he’s pretty liberal, and ever since Chip stopped hanging around his site I don’t see Mr. Sun being ganged up on. Neither do I see that for Roch when he posts.
Oh I know, this is all civil discourse; except that it isn’t. It’s condescending and relentless and not nearly so intelligent and objective as it may seem. It just seems mean spirited and clichéd and tit for tat. And though I hate to enter in, lest I be beaten up just the same, well, I’ve seen that list too many times not to respond. Roch, that point that you keep making that Christians are in effect guilty themselves of moral relativism because they oppose homosexual marriage on the one hand but fail to oppose the “list” of offences you give on the other is just not valid. There are two reasons.
First, in many cases Christians have fought against certain changes to the legal code, and they have lost. One thinks of Roe vs. Wade (well, that wasn’t a change in the code, but a ruling from the bench), Blue Laws, No Fault Divorce laws, Sodomy Laws, etc. Apart from radical elements (that exist everywhere) there is a tendency for Christians to accept the law, because they are commanded to “obey the ruling authority.”
Second, regarding the “list” which speaks mostly of marriage laws, well, these are just not good examples of your premise. Let’s look at each one.

“- Outlaw re-marriage for people who have been divorced?”

Well, surely you know, unless your only experience has been with the Catholic Church, the majority of conservative protestant churches allow for remarriage after divorce in the cases of adultery or willful abandonment, according to the “exception clause” of Matthew 5 and the desertion teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. The difference in the reading in mark and Matthew (where mark reads categorically and Matthew does not) has been a difficult matter; even under a strong view of Scripture which assumes either that Mark assumed what Matthew spelled out or that Matthew didn’t mean what we Protestants understand as an exception, this is a truly difficult matter to reconcile, unlike the crystal clear teaching on homosexuality.

“- Prohibit re-marriage by widows (unless to their brother in-law)”

Widows are given clear and unambiguous freedom to remarry in the New Covenant teaching (1 Corinthians 7:39-40). The Old Testament Scripture to which you allude is not about prohibiting remarriage of widows it is about requiring family members to marry widows to protect them and their children.

“- Prohibit marriage between people of different races”

There was never ever a prohibition against people of different races marrying in the bible. There were prohibitions against Jews marrying non-Jews. If a person of a different race converted and became a Jew and submitted to the covenant an ethnic Jew in the covenant could marry him or her. Later prohibitions against inter racial marriage were a corruption and a scandal, and thankfully have been ruled against.

”- Outlaw marriages between Christians and non-Christians”

Good advice, but not the role of the State I don’t think. We counsel against it. I won’t marry a professing Christian and a professing non Christian. But this is already part of our accepted law – don’t know when it became that way – maybe there was a fight about it I don’t know. Would be hard to test/enforce. Not an argument for moral relativism.

“- Prohibit a man from marring a woman if he has had sexual thoughts about another woman”

Jesus says that to lust is tantamount to adultery. His point there is not that a person who lusts has committed adultery in the external legal sense, but that someone who claims to be righteous (“I have never committed adultery”) yet who lusts is not so righteous and is guilty of the deeper intent of the seventh commandment. But civil laws are about behavior and actions not about thoughts (or should not be anyway). There is a difference in kind in how we deal with a person who has an affair and with a person who thinks about having an affair. Both are bad; having an actual affair is worse.

“- Require that marriage vows include a promise by the wife to obey her husband”

The Scripture does not lay out the details of what should and should be included in a wedding ceremony, what wedding ceremonies should look like, etc. I can only imagine the State dictating this by law! It would be declared an invasion of the church by the state for one thing. For another, it would be declared a violation of the civil rights of the woman. It’s not a possibility, so why even use it as an example?

“- Prohibit pastors from marrying a woman who is not a virgin”

Yeah, just try it. But, hmm, I’m a little lost here. Is this an allusion to the Joseph and Mary story? Maybe some piece of Old Covenant law is not coming to me. At any rate, Christian conversion means the conversion of formerly vile people who not only may not be virgins; they may have had sex with a thousand people of both genders, even beasts; they may have formerly participated in orgies of the grossest kinds. If they come to Christ, believe and repent (as St. Augustine, or John Newton, known profligates), and if not married, they are free to marry, praise God, and start a new life and a family.

“- Require that rapists marry their victims”

Well, where does that come from? Obadiah? In our case it would be kind of hard if they were in jail, or, if I had my way, they were on death row.

None of these are examples of Christians being “moral relativists.” Right now the gay marriage issue is before us. We will disagree. We will duke it out. I wish it would be possible for people who oppose it not to be demeaned and treated like idiots as so often happens on Mickey’s site.

That’s my two cents. Joel

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 5:39:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Joel,

Thanks for the patience and insight I lack.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 6:14:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

I'm certainly not trying to beat on Mickey.

He linked approvingly to a column.

He has open comments. I respect him and this blog enough to take the forum seriously and offer what I mean to be serious and thoughtful responses.

And what do you have to add to that, Joel? That I'm a "liberal"?

By the lights of the column Mickey promoted, that means I'm a crypto-racist and a bad parent.

Do you agree with that, Joel? You say I'm a "liberal." Adams says "liberals" are bad parents.

I don't think that's true of me, I
think you would recognize my parenting style as fairly conservative to tell the truth.

I don't think the label "liberal" as used by Adams has much meaning, and I don't think it's productive to divide the world so neatly into the good people and the bad people based on vague and shifting definitions of political groups.

If you want to defend Adams' column and tell me I'm a bad parent because I support, say, federal spending for health care, have at it.

That is the point of my comments.

As noted, I regret that the thread degenerated into another Roch-telling-Alex-he's-a-hypocrite session.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 7:16:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

Ditto to Ed's comments. I have to ask Mickey and Joel, did you read the Adams column? Do you not find it insufferably mean and stupid? Let's talk for a moment exclusively about the column. I'm going to make some quick points I believe to be true. If you disagree, I'd be interetested to hear you say so and why:

1. The plain thesis of the column is that liberals are bad parents.

2. #1 above is the worst kind of moronic generalization.

3. Adams writes: "I learned a lot about both the 60s and liberalism, just by spending four days in the mountains with that former hippie. I wrote this column to pass on what I learned." If this is learning to Adams, I don't have a lot of respect for him.

4. Adams writes: "I have found that you can usually identify a liberal by the way he talks to black people." Do you admire this thought, this way of thinking? I don't.

5. Adams writes: "My weekend in the mountains reminded me that liberalism is not really a political philosophy. Instead, it is a state of arrested emotional development." Oh. I see. How does one respond to that? What do you think of such a person? Mickey, Joel, Alex -- this strikes me as your opposites. Alex, I disagree with you consistently but I recognize you put more thought into a single paragraph of one of your blog comments than Adams has in this whole column. Can you not see this?

6. The whole sloppy slag heap of a column is an attempt to prop up a meanspirited generalization with overpolished anecdotes.

7. Finally, I note that Adams body of work as a columnist seems more about provocation than illumination. Take a look at the titles in those links. It's not a page I would let my children read, and I guess I'm a, gasp, "liberal."

Mickey, you linked to it. Care to defend it? Or, was it washed over by the universal debate solvent of "for purposes of starting a lively discussion."

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:08:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

No, Ed, for heaven's sake I don't think or assume you're a bad parent, and people I know who know you all say you are a nice guy, and yes, I do think politically speaking you are pretty liberal, and that it comes out everywhere, and O Great Mr. Sun (my Nordic Master) I haven't read and don't really care what Adams says frankly - it's not just that article or this series of posts - its the consistent walloping Mickey gets, day after day, and the tone of it. I don't come from the same angle Mickey does. I am not inclined to be interested in all the things that interest him. I am not as inclined to mix theology and politics. I'm not a republican. But just following his posts and the responses I still think you guys as a whole are just relentless with him on his site. I mean, I and "we" (don't know who "we" would be for sure) could be that way with you week after week, if I or we had the time. Maybe it was the gay marriage showing up yet again thing that tipped me I don't know, but give the guy a break.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:58:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Again, I'm not beating on Mickey.

Not that it's particularly relevant to this thread, but I know Mickey, I like him, and I respect him enough to have invited him to run a session at the national blog conference to be held at A&T next month.

What is the point of having comments at a blog if not to have a conversation? If it's supposed to be an echo chamber, close the comments or put it behind a LiveJournal wall and preach to the choir.

Joel, let's talk about the subject at hand. You were quick to say you didn't think I'm a bad parent. Of course you were. We're neighbors, it isn't right or appropriate or in sync with the evidence at hand (just don't ask my kids around bedtime :>)...so you are acknowledging that Adams' use of "liberals" is deeply flawed...

...but you still use the same rhetoric.

Which one is it, Joel?

That's what I'm getting at.

That's what I want us to talk about.

This business of gross generalization and demonization based on vague political labels is stupid and wrong and dangerous.

Go read my blog. Go back through ten years of opinion columns. If you can find sweeping generalizations about "conservatives" or "liberals," I'll apologize for them.

I surely take a stand on principle, and expect the people here to do the same, but this blind dismissal of huge swaths of the population is ridiculous.

Please respond to Mr. Sun, don't just react to him.

Adams is sowing division. His work is beneath us here, isn't it?

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 9:55:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

Ed,

I do not think it wrong of me to classify you as a political liberal. I don't mean that in a mean way. Perhaps you think you are moderate. That does not mean I think by implication the way Mr. Admas thinks of you. It also does not mean that I feel like I have an obligation to counter everything you write; I would be inclined to counter most of it, but who has the time. I read it, what is printed in the paper that is, every week. I read your stuff. I respect it. I seldom agree with it, but I read it. I try to stay informed and stay challenged by different viewpoints. But I don't feel I need to argue with you about it. Maybe I should. And I really don't wish to enter the fray with Mr. Sun on the matter of whatever Mr. Adam's said. I may not even like what Mr. Adams said. Besides, I am scared of Mr. Sun. He is too smart and clever for me. I am his subject. I cannot defy him. He would have me for lunch. He may stop liking my music. But overall, I am simply of the opinion, stated after weeks of observation, perhaps in frustration, and maybe at the wrong time, that Mickey is just getting too much unjustified heat. Maybe I jumped in right at that moment when he quoted a source who deserved the attention. I really am refering to the overall picture. It just seems that everytime Mickey makes a comment, say about gay marriage for example, he gets hammered relentlessly, as if the biggest sin in the universe is to oppose gay marriage. No, I don't think everyone should just preach to the choir, but it seems to me like he attracts a lot of vitriole. Maybe he doesn't even like me saying all this. I didn't ask his permission. We're not a tag team or a conspiracy. A lot of bloggers say things I think are off the wall. I don't feel compelled to get on their case every time. I guess I see a lot of blogging as self expression, take it or leave it. Anyway, I don't want to beat this into the ground. I accept your statement that you are not beating up on Mickey as a statement of your intent, though I maintain, over the course of the last few weeks Mickey has gotten too much heat. Disagree with me, fine. I promise I'll shut up.

 
At Wednesday, September 21, 2005 10:24:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

I've had a busy day at work, so I apologize for not commenting sooner.

Wow, looks like the marriage debate spilled over to this post sometime this afternoon. Regardless, thank you, Joel, for your comments and support.

Now back to Mike Adams. I'm not sure I'll hit on everything that was brought up, but I'll try.

I like reading Mike's columns (I especially enjoyed his series titled "Life and how to live it"), but he can be provocative for provocative's sake, and he can sometimes go to extremes to make his point. But many times he is dealing with extreme issues in his columns, and you're right, Mr. Sun, provocative columns can inspire debate, as it has here.

Sure, Mike made some sweeping generalizations in his column; I will grant you that. And maybe this ski trip chaperone's boorish behavior is an extreme example, but his actions have a lot to do with the post-modern, morally relative mind-set that he and others like him have bought into.

And, Ed, as for demonizing and writing people off because of what they believe, as a Christian and a conservative, I can certainly relate to that, and if I give it back in return out of spite, that's wrong. So if I'm guilty of that by association, I apologize.

It is true that kids from good families, even good conservative Christian families, can go astray, just as Mr. Sun has pointed out with Jeb Bush's kids. However, in my opinion, the moral relativism exemplified by liberal thought and practices has not done any of our children any good. It has blurred the lines between right and wrong.

And yes, I think there are many liberals out there who have the best intentions as parents and try their darnedest to be decent people, but, to me, many of the policies they support (abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.) run counter to what's best for their children. In fact, the driving factor in my ideological shift from being a liberal to becoming a conservative was after I became a daddy and realized that many of the liberal policies and programs I had been embracing not only didn't mesh with what I believed as a Christian, they were inherently bad for my daughter and her future.

Of course, I don't consider myself a perfect parent because I'm now a conservative.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:25:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

Mickey -- Conservative blogger Eugene Volokh has a thoughtful lesson for you about the use of phrases such as moral relativism, morality, and postmodernism to avoid responsible debate.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:26:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:23:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Ed Cone: "As noted, I regret that the thread degenerated into another Roch-telling-Alex-he's-a-hypocrite session."

Ed, mischaracterizing people's comments is beneath you, or so I thought. You are they only one on this thread to use the word "hypocricy." If my comments have made Alex appear hypocritical, it is simply because I have stuck to the facts in examaning how he justifies his prejudices. It has been done without name-calling or ad hominem attacks.

Please avoid putting words in my mouth in the future.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 7:11:00 AM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Joel,

I have no problem with you reading my political positions and deciding that I qualify as a "liberal."

That is far from the point I'm trying to make.

The problem is with ridiculous generalizations about people who disagree on politcs, eg, "liberals are bad parents."

Mickey, you bring up social values and issues, fair enough, I probably teach my kids different things about many issues than you do.

But look what Adams says. It's not about the possible downside of teaching your kids that homosexuality is a natural condition.

He says "liberals" are condescending in their personal relations with black people (hey wait, aren't a lot of blacks politically liberal?), and implies that they are boorish and immoral, and bad parents.

That's the foolishness and the danger. He creates a phony group and attacks it.

Then the problem is that when someone like Joel makes a perfectly sober statement like, "Ed Cone's positions on a lot of the issues are liberal, he's a liberal" and you have just endorsed a column saying "liberals" are bad people, well, the chances for respect and dialogue are greatly diminished.

I've just been told that you have contempt for me, that you endorse the column saying people like me are actually bad people.

You might protest that you don't think that of me -- that you disagree on politics, but that you don't think I'm a bad person or bad parent.

Exactly.

Adams has a fraudulent definition of "liberal." It's intended to discredit and demean people who disagree with him on politics, not to make any sort of reasonable statement.

Back to the comments thing: I think it's great to support one's friends if you think they are being jumped on. But if you post on topics like gay marriage and endorse columns like this in a public forum, then people are going to comment.

I get negative, argumentative, and just plain whacky comments all the time; the dogs bark, and the caravan passes.

The ones that set me back on my heels are the intelligent, reasoned ones that force me to reconsider my own words and positions. That's what I wanted from this conversation.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 8:21:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

"If my comments have made Alex appear hypocritical, it is simply because I have stuck to the facts in examaning how he justifies his prejudices. It has been done without name-calling or ad hominem attacks (Roch101)."

"I don't need your sanctimoneous arrogance to tell me you have a lock on understanding God's values, especially when your understanding begins with a twisted, selective and distorted, if not dillusinal, view of God's word and ends with justifying vile discriminatory personal prejudices (Roch101)."

Thanks Roch. I'm glad you don't use "name-calling or ad hominem attacks." You just "call them as you see them."

I tell you. You've got to love this guy!

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 8:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At leest he's a reel gud spellar.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, where to jump in from here...

All I know is that I know some awful parents from both political spectrums and I know great ones from both as well. I don't see that political philosophy is necessarily much of an indicator.

My line is drawn elsewhere. Aside from all the obvious things such as spending time with your kids and whatnot, the most important things you can instill in them is respect for authority, each other, your country, those who protect you, and of course, that there is a higher power than yourself.

Sounds simple but if you ever find a teenager in a 'hopeless gutter' somewhere, listen to them. They have been taught so little, have no value system or beliefs.

the Heckler

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Alex, Ed made a characterization of my comments in this thread. To back him up, you cite some comments of mine from another thread. Please don't be disengenuos (-- or sloppy, I don't now which it is.)

Furthermore the quote you offer is not an ad hominem attack. Had I said you are a narrow-minded, dissembling, sanctimonious prig, that would have been an ad hominem attack. But I didn't say that.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Chewie said...

"And, Ed, as for demonizing and writing people off because of what they believe, as a Christian and a conservative, I can certainly relate to that..."

Mickey, you chose to post the Adams column, played dumb about the insults to your friends and colleagues contained therein, and now want to frame yourself as some kind of Christian martyr. Good luck. You may have Ed's respect, but you just lost mine. I'd say the stereotype you fall prey to is the one you just played into.

The parenting and moral relativism debate is a good one. The Rush Limbaugh crap about "liberals", whatever that term means, was wholly tangential.

Take responsibility for taking a unprovoked cheap shot, and feeding the divisive rhetoric beast that hurts us all.

The best way to be a good father is to be a good man.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Ed, you are not a bad person, wrongheaded on a lot of things, but not bad. And as I said last night, I agree that Mike Adams generalized in his column. The value I saw in what he wrote was that it demonstrated how this ski chaparone guy's ideological background affected his parenting. Have all liberals fallen into that trap? I hope not.

And I do expect and welcome comments on my posts, pro or con. However, I do get tired of covering the same old ground with the same people time after time. For instance, on Alex's post on the need for pastors to speak out on marriage, it moved, once again, into an argument on homosexuality. I don't think anyone commented on what the post was actually about.

OK, thanks everybody for your input, but I'm on deadline and will have to bow out for now. The rest of you can go on arguing amongst yourself.

Take care, guys.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

But...but...but...the column did not show in the slightest how the guy's ideological background affected his parenting.

It showed that he was a jerk, and that he was a liberal, and pretended that one came from the other.

That, and the ridiculous extrapolation of this jerky guy into the epitome of "liberals," and liberal parents, is pretty much what I've been railing against all along.

With limited success, apparently.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Roch101,

Roch101,

"A rose by any other name is still a rose."

Your name calling and insults are still name calling and insults no matter what article they are in.

But, enough of this. I forgive you whether you ask for it or not. God loves you and I'm working on it. Have a blessed day!

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 11:57:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

This reminds me of the old joke about jokes -- eventually you just shout out a number, "27" and laugh. Here, Adams and I guess Mickey have eliminated the middleman -- you just shout out "liberal" or "moral relativist" and everyone shakes their head.

Mickey or anyone, I am pasting in below a few short and unbiased phrases representing the sins of the chaperone. Please connect them to liberal/progressive political ideology for me:

Lied to get free trip
Gave bus driver wrong directions
Daughter wore boots and mascara
Daughter wore "Bush is Stupid pin
Blamed bus driver for delay
Stuffed buffet food in his coat
Did all of above despite wealth
Allowed youngest to eat sugary breakfast
Son indicated family policy was to claim lost items as own
Told son "shut up and stop being annoying"
Poor disciplinarian
Daughter crushed croutons with fist at Pizza Hut

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Back to parenting:

I've seen parents raise one child that you would think is the perfect angel and their next child turns out to be demon possessed (not literally). They will beat their heads against the wall trying to figure out what they did right with the first child that they did not do with the second. Have any of you encountered parents with similar problems?

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 3:05:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

Why do I do this? I said I would shut up.

So, are we waiting until Mickey says "uncle."

I have not read nor am I going to read the Adams article. I just feel stubborn about that right now. But it seems that there are several questions being thrown around.

Are people who are political/social "liberals" bad parents, and if so, are they that way because they are political/social liberals?

The same question could be asked of political/social conservatives.

I think in either case such a generalization would be inappropriate.

Is it possible that the fundamental premises of liberal or conservative people could have negative impacts on their parenting and thus on their children, even if the people are otherwise good parents?

This is possible and worthy of consideration.

Is the guy in the story (as I hear it summarized by Mr. Sun) a jerk? Sounds like it. Is he a liberal? Apparently from the story he happens to be. Does that mean all, many, or most liberals are jerks? Of course not. Same if he were a conservative. Jerks abound everywhere.

Does the fact that I consider Ed Cone to be of the general category a political liberal, combined with the fact that I have weighed in on this chain, mean that I agree with Mike Adams and therefore conclude that Ed is a bad parent because I think he is a political liberal? No.

Are Mr. Sun's questions valid? I think so, yes.

By relating to the fact that as a conservative Christian Mickey knows what it feels like to be stereotyped and thereby treated unjustly mean that he should lose the respect of others. No.

Is parenting a challenge no matter what one's political views, yes. Is being conservative a guaranteee of a great outcome for one's children. No, of course not. Same for being a liberal.

Is it OK to use labels for people's political/social/theological views such as conservative or liberal? I don't know how you get around it.

Does using such labels make it right to demean, ridcule, stereotype, or overly generalize? I don't think so, in either direction. That's why I tend not to like the commentators on both sides who do that a lot. Plus, a lot of people don't fit the labels neatly anyway. I am a flaming liberal on environmental issues and a far right conservative on pro-life issues.

Though I wish she would change her mind on the respect for Mickey issue, I think Chewie spoke to the real heart of the matter here.

What is the relationship of moral relativism on parenting?

It is not necessarily the case that liberals are moral relativists; but the association of the two concepts in some academic and in theological circles is strong, which I thing causes confusion and hard feelings when such are not necessary. I think Chewie is asking the right question. Maybe this is the question Adams should have asked all along.

I hope I have not unduly offended anyone through this chain. I realize I have screamed "lay off" and been totally ignored!! I would have screamed the same if it was a bunch of conservatives piling on a liberal. I would have been ignored there too! I guess it's good to know one's place!!!

But Chewie's question is a truly serious and significant one, and I think the golden nugget in this chain.

Joel

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:27:00 PM, Blogger Chewie said...

Well thanks Joel.

Perhaps most of the problem, and where the dialogue breaks down, is when we label people rather than their views.

As you mentioned that you do, I know that I have some "liberal" and some "conservative" ideology amongst my many opinions. One obviously dominates.

Does that make me a "liberal"? I'm not sure. I certainly don't identify with the ski trip chaperone -- I'm nothing like him. I don't match other descriptions I hear of liberals, either -- the ones who hate America, hate Bush, like to give away money, murder babies, and let terrorists have their way with us.

In fact, I've never met anyone who matches the storied description of a liberal. I don't think such a person exists, except in stories like Adams' ski trip and the fictional characters he and others create to fit their worldview.

People are complex. They hold contradictory views, and they change their minds all the time.

When I espoused certain views about the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, suddenly I was on the Liberal team scrumming against the Conservatives. It was like I wore the wrong color to school and accidentally joined a gang.

I have opinions, on everything. No other individual speaks for me, and I don't speak for anyone else -- certainly not any political party. I don't want to pick a team. These issues aren't sporting events with winners and losers; they affect us all, and we all have every right to feel however we feel about them, informed by our own life experiences, our upbringing, our faith traditions, our reason and intellect, and on and on.

I would suggest that you read the Adams article, Joel. It might help you understand the reaction here as something other than just picking on Mickey. When you read it, replace the word "liberal" with some group that you belong to -- males, Christians, conservatives, North Carolinians -- and see if you aren't incensed at the injustice of being painted with all the characteristics of an irresponsible slob, just because you and he have one common affiliation.

Reducing wonderful, terrible human beings to a label is a gross and lazy practice. It's destructive to constructive dialogue. It's tribalism, regression; playground stuff. It leads us in circles. How many times this year will someone find fault with a Bush policy, only to be met in comments by someone reminding them that Clinton had faults too? Can't we collectively say "duh" at some point, and get to the issues at hand?

Mickey made it pretty clear in his last response that yes, he does believe that people who hold liberal views are not good parents. In other words, he didn't slip up here. He tried to say it in code, with a sarcastic, semi-humorous account of a ski trip that someone else wrote. He didn't really want to have the conversation about why he believes that "liberals" (again, whatever that is) are bad parents. He wanted to be free of the consequences of making such a controversial and judgmental statement.

If Mickey knows what it is like to be stereotyped, and how unpleasant and unfair it is, why is he passing the abuse along? Shouldn't he step out as a leader, a better man, and say 'you know, I don't think it's right to treat people this way -- and so I'm not going to.' Instead, he took the easy way out. I don't respect that.

I do, however, respect the guts required to lead this group in a session at Converge.

Peace all. A good thread.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:49:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

OK, Chewie, because you asked, I will read the article. And I will read it as you have asked, I mean, replacing the words as you suggested. I do wish to say though that my original comments about "piling on" were not just due to this thread. It was something bugging me for days - the same stuff over and over, even brought into this discussion for no reason really. So, that had already concerned me, and frustrated me; yet, I see better the issues of this particular chain of posts, and perhaps I could have found a better way or better place to express my other frustration. I will now as you've asked go read the article. And let us not forget that golden nugget of a question, which is really profound, and perhaps beyond the scope of a blog.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 6:07:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

"the same stuff over and over, even brought into this discussion for no reason really."

I'm sure that was for me. It wasn't for no reason. Mickey brought up moral relativism. I posted an example.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 7:15:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

I wasn't intending to pick on you Roch. I do hope however that my long reply to the specific example you raised as to how you see Christians as being relativistic in their own way at least caused some pause. But forgive me writing in a way that seemed to single you out.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:10:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Friends, especially my left-of-center friends, I have taken what you have said into consideration, thought about it all day, prayed about it, and even asked my wise wife, who generally stays away from my blog, to read the post, column and comments for her perspective. I then went back and reread Mike Adams’ column and tried to look at what he wrote from your perspective, and I think I’m beginning to see what you mean. You’re right, Mike shouldn’t judge all liberals according to the actions of this one ski trip chaperone. It was grossly unfair and probably unnecessary, and I apologize that by posting it I implied that some of you were just as bad a parent as this guy was.

I have learned two important lessons from this episode: one, not to align myself with faulty expressions of political ideology in a forum where my first responsibility is to share and exemplify what my walk with God is all about; and, two, just because I had not had the time or energy to post anything for four days, I should never again force myself to stay up till 2 a.m. trying to cobble together some sort of post with links that I groggily think at the time have some sort of relevance but don’t. I think I’ll go to bed early tonight.

Thanks, guys (and Chewie).

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:30:00 PM, Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Thanks for the comments, and the forum, Mickey. And thanks to all for a long conversation that elicited a lot of thoughtful exchanges. There is much room for respectful disagreement in this blogging community of ours, and sometimes surprising opportunities for accord, too. Peace.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:04:00 PM, Anonymous cubmama said...

An interesting twist to all the hubbub about liberal vs conservative parenting....if you re-read the article, you'll all note that when the child brought up the subject of the acquisition of ski goggles, the father tried to shut him up. He KNEW that what he was doing was wrong, and didn't want his son spouting off about it. This wasn't a liberal or conservative ideology. This was purely an issue of sin. And the last time I read my Bible, there are none who are righteous among us, no not one!
Mickey, while I too am a conservative, I have to admit that this particular article was not the best proof of the issue of moral relativism and liberal ideology. All it did was point out a sinful dad, and I'm afraid that sin crosses all political or moral ideologies.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:41:00 PM, Blogger PotatoStew said...

Mickey,

I came across this exchange from a link on Ed's site. I haven't read all the comments, but did look at a good chunk of the beginning and end, and I'd like to compliment you on how you've handled it. It takes a lot of guts to admit a change of heart and to own up to a mistake, especially on a public forum. It speaks highly of you that you were able to come around in the end with such graciousness.

 
At Thursday, September 22, 2005 11:40:00 PM, Blogger Chewie said...

Mickey,

You're clearly no stereotype, brother. And whether you meant to or not, you just gave powerful witness on slaying the pride dragon.

I click away from here inspired to do better and be better, and not be afraid to reconsider.

So, thanks.

 
At Friday, September 23, 2005 9:59:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Sun said...

I am going to beat my kids within one inch of their lives tonight for not being as gracious as you about how we are good parents.

 
At Friday, September 23, 2005 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Carrying on in Mickey's spirit of reconcilliation, I apologize if I've been offensive. I was trying to honestly make a point, but I fear my methods may have been to harsh.

 

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