Thursday, March 29, 2007

More on Parenting and Grace

When we moved into this house (the one we are now leaving), I was pregnant with Abigail. I was nervous because in the kitchen there are stairs leading downstairs with no possible way to put up a baby gate. I didn't know what we'd do when this baby started crawling. Somewhere between the time she was born and the time she started crawling, I read the Pearls' book about training children. When she learned to crawl we simply taught her no every time she went near the stairs, up or down. She quickly learned after a few small flicks on the hand. It was nice having no baby gates and it was nice for her that she didn't have to fall down the stairs. Around nine months, I was able to take a few hours and teach her how to turn around and go down the stairs feet first, which she then did every time. She was ready to learn that at nine months, but hadn't been when first crawling. I could have followed "grace-based parenting" and instead of training her to obey, I could have attempted to hover at the top of the stairs every moment she was awake. But in order to show "grace" to my other children and husband, I would have had to occasionally leave my post. Doubtless this baby would have had many tumbles down the stairs before she learned not to try to go down. I would rather her have slightly painful flicks on the hand to learn a lesson than fall down many times and then learn. Either way, she would have learned. Which way was the most gracious? This proves true for larger issues in parenting as well.

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