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Monday, June 25, 2007

Radical Dependency and Kids


Following my second post on is Christianity Middle Class, one of my commentators said: 

"Going back to the point about self sufficiency... As a parent, you have this tiny new born that is 100% dependent on you. Your mission for the next 18 years is then to change that around so the new person can stand on their own - and of course leave home as soon as possible! Not sure how you marry that with radical dependency on God and others. I guess it needs to be experienced as part of normal life around them both in and outside of church..."

It's a great point, fortunately for me having just read 'The Power of Generosity' by Dave Toycen I'm armed with a response. In his first two chapters 'Generosity:What is it?' and 'Who are the Generous?' he gives two powerful illustrations. I'll quote the first one in full: 

"One church launched a study to determine what causes some members to be more generous than others. Much to the researchers' surprise, it was neither the cleverness of the church's appeals nor the power of the preaching. Instead the most significant factor was whether the person had been taught generosity as a child. The impact of parents in teasching their children to give was the key that opened the world of giving."

The second illustration is more challenging still (marvellous!): Samuel Oliner, a Holocaust survivor researched some of the estimated 50,000 cases of non-Jews rescuing Jewish people from death at the hands of the Nazis. 

"Oliner found that education and religion were not determinant factors. Instead, he found that the rescuers had learned generosity from at least one of their parents who modelled generous and caring behaviour for someone beyond their local group or clan. It was also important that the parent used reasoning and induction rather than coercive discipline to teach their children to be caring."

So perhaps the point is not to create independence (although being able to cook will always be an advantage!) but to model an open hearted community, a generous spirit, and a compassionate life so that our children learn not how to be nice middle class people, but how to live like Jesus. 

2 comments:

D said...

and when will you be learning to cook?

Phil on 3 July 2007 at 17:47 said...

Oh very funny...well I have learnt but I admit I could do with some more practice

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