Believe it or not, my husband and I recently attended a conference session at a local church with this message title “How to Raise a Pharisee.” Despite the somewhat sarcastic title, it was actually quite an insightful seminar by Pastor, preacher and teacher Carey Hardy. I would highly recommend listening to the entirety of the hour-long message here (especially if the title in any way intrigues you); but, I thought I would summarize his proposed 12 steps here for those who, like me, find it difficult to squeeze in an hour of ANYTHING with little ones running around:
12 Step Program:
1) Major on the external instead of internal issues – equate adherents of external behaviors with true saving faith.
2) Seek to excessively control your child – find an imbalance between instruction and discipline; enforce an excessive amount of rules and micromanage your child’s life.
3) Overact to failure – do not seek to use each point of failure as an opportunity to share the gospel with your child, rather focus on your child’s inability to attain to an external standard.
4) Be unforgiving and impatient – crate an oppressive, negative atmosphere by depriving your child of unconditional love and forgiveness.
5) Elevate your personal preferences over the Scripture – elevate necessary household rules and preferences to the standard of “thus saith the Lord.”
6) Encourage unnecessary separatism – shelter and isolate your child from other outside influences to the point where he becomes exasperated and deprived of the opportunity to grow in his own discernment.
7) Judge others … especially in front of your child – your child will learn to follow your example and elevate himself by putting others down.
8) Be a fighter – take a stand on issues (especially minor issues) to the point where everything becomes a fighting issue.
9) Show favoritism – express even the most discrete forms of favoritism for one child over another; use this as a manipulative ploy to get your child to conform.
10)Do not allow humor or fun in the home – take life very seriously and expect your children to do the same.
11)Encourage your child’s self-esteem – train your child to think more about himself than others; encourage “fear of man,” “pride,” and “self love” in the heart of your child.
12)Use your children to impress others – put your child in situations where they are encouraged to perform so they can make you look good (i.e. “the ideal parent”).
Of course, Hardy is using this list to encourage Christian parents AVOID doing these things at all cost while raising the next generation. However, it has served as an effective tool in the Kirkland household to check our motives and practices in parenting our little ones.
In closing, Hardy summarized everything by quoting from Pastor John MacArthur. When all is said and done, parents should simply focus on 2 things: “discipline your child when he disobeys and show him a lot of love.”