The Rise of the Materialistic Family Culture

November 06, 2020

One of my longtime favorite terms is family culture. Those two words are so rich with ideas and sum up so much of what I think and care about. When I first heard the term I wouldn’t say it was widely used (in that it wasn’t part of the common vernacular), and it had a very specific meaning. But in recent years I have started to see the idea bandied about more and more, especially on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram. It’s the same sort of phrase, but it doesn’t mean the same thing. This is the rise of the consumeristic, materialistic, curated “family culture”.

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Parenting with Authority and Mutual Respect

September 29, 2020

One of the benefits of realizing that my authority as a parent is “divinely deputed” (as Charlotte Mason puts it), that it lies in the office and not in me as an individual, is that it quells that sort of fearful grasping to establish or defend my authority that besieges me in my lesser moments. It needn’t be asserted as much as accepted. Sure, it can be forfeited, but it is as easily forfeited through arbitrariness and autocracy (which Mason defines as “independent or self-derived power”) as it is through abdication or neglect. When I am grasping for authority through my own will, I typically harp on the respect I believe I deserve but am not receiving: the disrespect that my children are showing me. And in fear and frustration I believe it is a thing that can be demanded and procured through brute force. It is only when I have a quiet confidence in my authority under Authority, the realization that I am authorized, that the grasping falls away, and I am able to see that respect is not unilateral, but mutual. You could say that authority belongs to the office of parents as a (Divine) Natural Right, and the philosophy of Natural Rights also gave us the concept of the dignity of all people. Like authority, this dignity is not self-derived, but is due to the Imago Dei that each person bears. Respect is simply an active recognition of that dignity. Certainly we all believe that our children are made in the image of God. We have no greater right to be disrespectful (to be rude, to roll our eyes, to deprecate, to mock) than they do.

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