Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nine Principles of Loving Discipline for Parents

by Dr. Ray Guarendi

Here are nine principles of loving discipline to remember and practice. They are sure to improve your home life.

1. Discipline is love in action. Loving Discipline is teaching at the most gentle hands a child will ever experience—a loving parent's. Discipline now, and the world will not have to discipline your child later.

2. Good discipline is grounded in good sense. It always has been. It always will be. New and improved parenting theories are new, but aren't always improved, and sometimes, are much worse than time-tested methods.

3. Good parents make mistakes and learn from them. Disciplining in fear of mistakes only erodes your self-confidence; and self-confidence is crucial to taking the hard but best stance.

4. Strong discipline isn't complicated.  It's founded upon a few basics, and the will to persevere with those basics. Discipline is easy, if you're willing work hard at it.

5. Discipline is action, not talk. Discipline with consequences, and you'll discipline less. Discipline with words, and you'll discipline more. Action discipline leads to calmer and quieter discipline. Wordy discipline leads to louder and meaner discipline.

6. All discipline interacts with a one-of-a-kind object—a child. Some kids require one-tenth of the average amount of discipline. Some kids require ten times the average. Regardless, good parenting is parenting up to the very level required. Do what it takes for as long as it takes. Your child deserves no less.

7. Kids are built to misbehave. It's in their essence. It's who they are. Expect misconduct for years. Expect to discipline for years. Time will reward you and your children.

8. Humans resist discipline—some a little, some a lot. Children are just better at resisting discipline than most. It's a fact of human nature what we often fight what is good for us. Resist your child's resistance. As he matures, he'll better understand and accept.

9. Good parents are misunderstood. Really good parents are really misunderstood.  No longer is it only the children who question and accuse good parents, now it is other adults who should know better. Strong parents face a lot of opposition these days. Not because they are wrong, but because they are right. Stand strong. Reality always wins and it is on your side.

Dr. Raymond Guarendi is a father of ten, a clinical psychologist, author, public speaker and Catholic radio talk show host. These "Nine Principles of Loving Discipline" are the basis for Dr. Ray Guarendi's 90-minute comedy television special, "You're a Better Parent Than You Think" presented before a S.R.O. crowd at a Catholic Home School Conference. The DVD version of the special, along with Dr. Ray's other parenting resources, can be ordered at http://www.DrRayDVD.com which features a free booklet plus a 20% discount on Dr. Ray's Television Special Packages. You can also call Nineveh's Crossing for a catalog of Dr. Ray's parenting and Catholic apologetic books, CDs, and DVDs — 877-606-1370.

Monday, September 20, 2010

2. Culture is Made Up of Repeats

We had just docked our sailing ketch at a Great Lakes village in the North Channel of Ontario. A local businessman we had known from a previous cruise was sitting in our cockpit visiting. Since our last visit to the area we had become Catholic and I asked John if he knew where the local Catholic Church was so we could attend Mass the coming Sunday. He chuckled and said he should, since his mother had been the organist at the parish his whole life. When we suggested we attend Mass with him the next day, a Sunday, he shook his head and said. "No thanks. It's too boring for me. It's the same thing, every Sunday, nothing ever changes."

We did go to Mass the next morning. John's mom was at the organ, but, of course, John wasn't there.

John's complaint is similar to what Pam and I heard growing up as Protestants. As Evangelicals we were proud that our church didn’t keep repeating the same boring service Sunday after Sunday like Catholics did with the Mass. Or so we had been told. Had we known that Mass was usually celebrated everyday we would have been surprised seven times over. No, our worship was much superior, we didn't have any of that mind-numbing liturgy, we had (drum roll, please) an "Order of Service."

Ironically, the "order" never changed. The order consisted of: a hymn, the pastor's prayer, another hymn, a responsive reading (from the back of the hymnal), special music, the offering, a sermon, a final hymn, and a closing prayer. As youth we jokingly called this the Free Methodist liturgy. But it was not liturgy, even thought there was a pattern that was repeated — religiously. 
We rationalized that although the order was the same the hymns, prayers, Scripture, and sermons always changed. Little did we know how much more there was to liturgy.

As Catholics, the liturgy is not just the order of the various events in the service but the repeated use of gestures, smells, tastes, and the repetition of physical actions like standing, sitting, kneeling, bowing and genuflecting. Altogether the Catholic liturgy is a barrage that stimulates all six of our physical senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and balance.)

Culture originates and develops from the repeated public practice of individuals. So both our Evangelical and Catholic experiences in regular public worship, have a profound effect on culture, simply because the patterns are repeated, and the content within the patterns is true.

To the extent that we repeat ritual actions and words in Christian liturgy the associated values naturally and organically seep from us and becomes part of the larger culture. We bow to Christ out of respect, and we nod our respect to those in secular authority over us. We eat and drink Christ's body and blood with great reverence, and so during a regular meal we act with careful reserve and respect to others eating with us. Proper etiquette in society has as one of its sources the rubrics of the liturgy. In Mass we repeated learn to sit quietly and listen, which prompts us to sit quietly and listen to our boss, or parents, or spouse. When we repeatedly enter God's house we don't run or yell, but control our actions out of respect for someone greater than we. So, we get in the habit of acting the same way when we enter a place of business or another person's abode.

Thus, the more we are exposed to the on-going repetition in liturgy of the sights, sounds, words, actions, smells, and actions toward God, the more likely we are to repeat the same in our daily live with others. And the more Catholics (and other Christians) do such things, the more we repeat them for others to see and hear. In that way repetition creates a culture that comes from our experience in the liturgy.


Photo Copyright, Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS, used with permission, taken at Assumption Grotto Catholic Church Detroit.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Liturgy to Culture: 1. LIFE IS MADE UP OF FORMS

There is a direct correlation between what individuals and groups do on a repeated basis, and what the culture of the society becomes. 

If people in a metropolis repeatedly drive their cars to and from work at the same time of day, then as a metroplex society we learn to tolerate a culture of traffic jams. That along with the daily inhaling of vehicle exhaust and the honking of horns, create a fast-paced and high-strung culture.

In rural society similar but different regular events create a different culture. There slow moving hay wagons, beet trucks that dump their loads, and cattle crossing the road combine with the inhaling of organic smells and mooing of bovines to create a mellow culture.

Two families lived across the street from each other. The Libbys, like "freedom" loving people everywhere, never went to church on Sunday mornings but spent the time polishing their new Vette. But the Lentils, like clockwork and peas in a pod, were in the habit of putting on their Sunday best clothes and at 9:45 AM on Sunday mornings piled into their faded blue van and headed off to church. Of course, after a few years the Vette started to lose it's luster, the elbow grease started to mix with arthritis, and the Lentils kids seemed to do better in school and get the better jobs. The Libby's starting to go to church, too.

What we do on a regular basis, for whatever reason, can become the form and the habit of our life. When we do those things in public for others to see, we perform a "liturgy" which broadly defined is a public service, duty, or work. If we perform those liturgies on a regular basis that result in long-term desirable results, we create patterns and forms for others to follow. Our liturgy creates culture.