Teachers, child psychologists and parenting “experts” have told us for decades how children ought to be raised and educated. Although their advice has varied through the years, most people are happy to accept whatever happens to be the current prevailing wisdom. It is so much easier to just trust an expert. Parenting can be challenging, confusing, and even frightening. Self-doubt, second-guessing, and fear of failure are feelings every parent is familiar with. Advice from experts feels like an anchor in the storm or a GPS in an unfamiliar city.
At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket, parents need to remember one important fact: Experts can be wrong. They are fallible human beings just like you. And in today’s society, experts are typically the product of secular educational training that is wholly at variance with a biblical worldview. Their advice on child-rearing often reflects this.
What about Christian “experts”? Can you trust them? Many of them are well worth listening to and their advice is often sound. However, even they can be wrong. Sometimes they too have been trained in the same secular institutions. Even if they aren’t wrong, their advice may not fit your situation 100% of the time.
What if you decide to ignore the “experts” altogether? What about turning to your peers? What about listening to other moms and dads who are in your season of life and who are weighing in all the time on social media with their personal opinions about child raising? Are they the most trustworthy people to listen to? Maybe. Maybe not. They might have the experience to provide sound advice, but they too may have a faulty worldview or be unduly influenced by their own past. People can be wrong without an academic credential just as easily as they can be wrong with one.
My point here is not that you can never learn from anyone else. My point is simply this: Don’t be afraid to question the status quo opinions about child-rearing. Don’t be afraid to challenge the paradigms all around you, whether they come from a secular “expert,” a Christian “expert,” or your peers. To borrow from the vernacular, never be afraid to say to yourself, “Sez who?”
“Your children need the socialization of the public school!” Sez who?
“Your children shouldn’t be sheltered!” Sez who?
“Your children should be sent to public school to be salt and light?” Sez who?
“Teenage rebellion is normal!” Sez who?
“Pick your battles.” Sez who?
“It’s okay for kids to have boyfriends or girlfriends as soon as they turn 13 or 14.” Sez who?
“Teenagers need their own relevant church service.” Sez who?
“Your child will flunk life if they don’t take Latin.” Sez who?
“Your child will grow up a social misfit without being enrolled in a co-op.” Sez who?
Routinely ask yourself, “Sez who?” and then think these things through. Why is a particular idea the prevailing wisdom? Could it be wrong? Is there evidence to the contrary? Will your child shrivel on the spot if you don’t take the path everyone else is taking?
Just because everyone around you promotes an idea doesn’t mean the idea is right, or that it is the best decision for your family. Pray for wisdom and weigh ideas in the balance of God’s Word. Don’t be afraid to think things through on your own. You might not reach the same conclusion that the “experts” or your peers do. That’s okay. You’re the expert on your own child, not them.
Ask questions. Challenge the status quo. You may end up running counter culturally against the world at large or even against your own subculture. Is that a problem? Sez who?