Up until 1970, the word parent was a noun. Back then parents raised children. In 1970, the noun became also a verb; thus, today's parents...well, they parent. Back then, childrearing was problem free, relatively speaking. Parenting, by contrast, is - according to most of today's parents - the "hardest thing they've ever done." When parents raised children, grandparents were the go-to experts. Concerning parenting, however, psychologists and other mental health professionals are the go-to experts. And what, pray tell, do the new experts do? Why, they test, diagnose, and medicate! Then they test, diagnose, and medicate some more. Their goal, quite obviously, is to diagnose and medicate every single child and make lots and lots of money in the process. How is this working out? Listen to this episode of "Because I Said So!" and find out.ParentGuru: Better Parenting Starts Here
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Hello and welcome to my new podcast series, “Because I Said So,” which I’ve named after the little-known song by Louisiana bluesman Beaujolais Beaucoup, which I use as our theme song by the way. This episode asks the question “how did a noun become a verb?” The noun is parent, the verb is parent. Today’s parents parent. A fascinating thing, that.
Anyway, I’m John Rosemond, also known as Bo…that is simply b…o. The redneck spelling, which is apropos because I am a redneck at heart. A rock ‘n’ roll redneck. In addition to being a so-called “parenting expert,” which is how I am best known, I am a family psychologist, a syndicated columnist of 46 years running…wow. I’m also a best-selling author, a public speaker, an uncredentialed theologian, a credentialed songwriter, a pretty much retired fairly good golfer in my day, the former lead singer of a midwestern rock ‘n’ roll band, a player of the guitar and blues harmonica, also known as a “harp,” a husband to only one woman to whom I am still a husband after 54 amazing years, a father of two, a grandfather to seven, and, to top it all off, I like to ponder things, which is what this podcast will mostly consist of…my ponderings on various things, mostly concerning what is now known as parenting. My primary hobby, by the way, is singing along with the car radio. Singing along to what? You might ask. To good stuff, stuff from Sinatra, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, led zeppelin, the kinks, Frankie Valli and the four seasons although I can’t quite his Frankie’s range, the beach boys. That’s the short list. Anyway, that’s me in a nutshell. You can, if you’d like, refer to me as simply “Bo.”
I decided to do a podcast because I’m interested in lots of things, and I like to share my interests with others. Probably more than anything, I enjoy good conversation about meaningful things and issues. Back and forth conversation with people who are intelligent and intellectually honest. What is intellectual honesty? You might be asking. Good question. Very pertinent, that. Intellectual honesty is the guts to admit you are wrong about something, that objective evidence does not support your position. That seems simple, but it’s really not. Most people are not intellectually honest. Their opinions are based on preconceived notions that for one reason or another they’ve never held up to the light of objectivity much less the blinding light of the scientific method. And that includes lots of highly intelligent people.
An intellectually dishonest person decides that something is true and then clings to that idea like a passenger on the titanic would have held on to a life jacket. In the face of overwhelming evidence that his tightly held position is dead wrong, the intellectually dishonest person refuses to even acknowledge that such evidence exists. For those folks, their ideas are idols to be protected at all cost. Most of their idols, by the way, are ideological, philosophical. When all is said and done, they mostly concern the issue of truth versus falsehood, right versus wrong, good versus evil. The philosophy of Darwinism is a good example. You mean science of Darwinism, don’t you, Bo? No, I mean philosophy of Darwinism. A science adheres to the scientific method, and the scientific method proves Darwinism to be wrong – completely, utterly wrong – a fact that Darwinists rabidly deny, by the way. Because Darwinism rejects the scientific method, Darwinism is a philosophy and nothing more. Darwinism is a collection of ideas that lack even one iota of confirming evidence. The good news is that Darwinists are beginning to emerge from the creationist closet and acknowledge that all of the rapidly accumulating evidence points to a creation event and, therefore, a creator. They are the intellectually honest Darwinists.
Is this podcast about Darwinism versus creationism? No. It’s about ideas, the memes behind the things human beings do. So I may at times take up the fake science of Darwinism, but today we’re going to focus mostly on what is now known as “parenting,” but first….a few words about the nature of ideas. My life-long adventure with ideas began courtesy of my mother and stepfather, both of whom were very smart people who themselves liked to play with ideas.
My parents repeatedly cautioned me against getting into discussions concerning religion or politics. And yes, those subjects are certainly controversial and can generate strong emotion, but they are also fascinating. They are fascinating because politics and religion are what human beings do. Human beings make gods and idols, and human beings compete for influence and power. You can’t begin to properly understand human beings without consideration of religion and politics. So, in this podcast, because I will often talk on the subject of human beings and what makes us tick, I will talk sometimes about religion and politics. Emphasize: sometimes. Mostly because they are unavoidable subjects.
Now, in the days of my youth, religion and politics were the relationship-destroying issues. Today, parenting has entered the list. For some people, in fact, parenting is a more volatile subject than either religion or politics. That’s especially so of women, by the way, a sore subject I shall return to with some regularity. Anyway, or anyways as some people say, today, the relationship-destroying issues are religion, politics, and parenting. The common denominator is philosophy. The topic of religion involves various philosophies. Politics is about philosophies. That brings us to the topic of parenting.
Once upon a time in America, parenting was not a philosophy. And once upon a time in America, what is now called parenting was called raising children or childrearing. When parenting was called simply raising children it wasn’t controversial because everyone went about raising children pretty much the same way, in accord with time-honored understandings that whether a particular parent realized it or not, were based on principles of proper living set forth in the “how to be a human being” manual that god has given to us.
All that has changed. Over the past fifty years or so, what is now called “parenting” has become a philosophy, abounding with multiple schools of parenting thought. When I was a child, there were perhaps three books on childrearing that my mother might have read. Today, amazon lists around one hundred thousand books, each purporting to describe the proper way of parenting—not the proper way to raise children, mind you, but the proper way to do this new thing called parenting. One hundred thousand books! That number, in and of itself, testifies to something complicated, something very difficult, something that requires being up-to-date, informed of the latest discoveries about things like how the infant brain stores information and begins to develop language, how to promote the development of language skills in your child, how to teach a child to read when he’s not yet one, and all the other myriad of improving your parenting and, therefore, improving your child. If you haven’t figured it out, parenting is all about making a child who excels at everything. Anyway, one hundred thousand books! That number testifies to something very complex. And because there is no agreement among these one hundred thousand books, this parenting thing is very confusing.
The confusion is largely a matter of the many different parenting approaches, parenting methods, parenting techniques, and parenting strategies that these one hundred thousand books represent. Some of these books promote what is called attachment parenting. Some promote free-range parenting. Some promote democratic parenting. Some promote grace-based parenting, some promote so-called “gentle parenting, some promote something called “mindfulness parenting,” some promote biblical parenting, the problem there being that what some biblical parenting experts promote as “biblical” isn’t biblical at all. And on and on it goes. One approach after another.
By the way, to give you an idea of how many books we’re talking about, if, on average, each of these one hundred thousand books is an inch thick – a reasonable estimate – and they were stacked, one atop the other to form a tower of books that disappeared into the clouds, that towering tower of parenting books would be more than three times the height of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Just close your eyes and imagine that. A tower of books of various titles and topics that is three times the height of the world’s tallest building! I call that imaginary tower the Tower of Parent-Babble, because that’s what mostly emanates from it, nabble. The problem is, and we’ll get deep into this in future podcasts, American parents have been worshipping at the tower of parent-babble for fifty years. They don’t seem to realize that what they are absorbing as they worship is, with very rare exception, incoherent.
Anyway, this proliferation of differing child rearing philosophies is a symptom of the storm of moral, cultural, and cross-cultural relativism that has been gathering since the 1960s.
In the 1950s, just about everyone agreed on how to properly raise children. Because everyone agreed, the subject was not fraught with controversy. Back in those halcyon days, the raising of a child was universally regarded as relatively simple and yet hugely significant. A parent demonstrated love of neighbor by raising children who demonstrated respect for legitimate adult authority. It was that simple. Let me say it again. Back in the day, a parent demonstrated love of neighbor by simply raising children who respected legitimate adult authority. That respect translated into self-respect. Self-respect translated into doing one’s best. The intrinsic reward of doing one’s best translated into a proper work ethic. And so on. Everyone agreed on that.
Today, it is often the case that not even a husband and a wife agree on how to raise the kids although in many cases the husband has learned to keep his mouth shut about it. He understands his place. He’s not a real parent; he’s a parenting aide, a parenting doofus whose point of view is largely irrelevant. Having stepped on many toes just now, I will say no more about the devaluation of fatherhood and how fathers have been all too cooperative in their own devaluation. I will say no more about it right now. We shall, be assured, return to the topic of being married until children do ye part.
But for now, back to the childrearing agreement that existed when I was a child. In the 1950s, teachers and parents agreed. If a child got into trouble at home, his parents didn’t ask him for his side of the story. The teacher had told them what had happened and that was that. The child was punished at school and then he was punished again, usually with more lasting effect, at home. Everyone understood that laws against double jeopardy didn’t extend to children.
The short of it is…in the 1950s, America enjoyed child rearing unity. Today, we have parenting anarchy.
That’s bad. It’s bad that there are more variations on the theme of parenting than there are different brands of soap on the shelves of America’s grocery stores. By comparison, the fact that we don’t agree about politics and religion is small potatoes. The argument can be made, in fact, that fixing the anarchy of parenting in America – restoring agreement where children and their upbringing is concerned – is the most important fix of all. Arguably, fixing the scourge of relativism that holds America hostage begins with fixing the parenting problem.
I’ve already used the term “relativism” several times, so it’s time that I defined it.
Relativism is a philosophy that claims there is no one correct definition of truth concerning anything, no one correct set of values, no one correct worldview, no one right way to do anything. Relativism began in the garden. In the first and third chapters of the bible’s book of genesis, the book that describes our beginnings, relativism is called “knowledge of good and evil.”
God did not want Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because they had not yet been saved. They didn’t even, in the beginning, in the garden, possess a clear understanding of who God – the dude who was in the garden with them and seemed to run the place – was, that he was the one almighty, creator of all things, master of the universe. In an unsaved state, eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would be catastrophic for Adam and Eve and their descendants. In an unsaved state, man would, if he ate of the forbidden tree, begin to believe that he owned the definitions of good and evil, truth and falsehood.
Understand, please, God owns those definitions. The right definitions of good and evil, which never change, are his intellectual property. Human beings, being not God, must submit themselves to god’s authority if they are to correctly discern good and evil, truth and falsehood. A human being who has not submitted to god’s authority in all things cannot properly understand good and evil. His attempts at understanding good and evil lead right into relativism. Now, God’s definitions of good and evil keep a person walking down a straight path. But man’s independent, self-sufficient understandings of good and evil are scattered all over the moral map. That’s relativism.
Relativism spawns progressivism, so the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate of the forbidden tree was to take it upon themselves to change things, to quote – improve – end quote things, beginning with themselves…more specifically, as the story tells us, beginning with their outward appearance.
That’s right, folks, pastors and theologians are wrong about the fig leaves. Adam and eve did not fabricate fig leaf garments to cover sin and shame. They were intended as adornments, decorations. The fig leaf garments were the first symbols of a self-improvement project that is ongoing to this day…not just ongoing, but accelerating. The fig leaf garments were also a declaration of independence, of self-determination.
Adam and eve were the first relativists, and relativism is the mother of all sin. I told you at the start of this podcast, I am, among other things, an uncredentialed theologian.
In the 1960s, the most significant paradigm shift to ever occur, far as I can tell, in any culture at any time, occurred here in the United States of America. When the 1960s began, the USA was a culture rooted in tradition. Ten years later, the USA was firmly rooted in relativism and progressivism. The disseminator of the relativist/progressive agenda is called media.
Relativism posits that truth is a slippery thing, which explains why, so often these days, today’s truth is tomorrow’s lie. Relativists believe man, on his lonesome, is capable of properly discerning truth from lies. The fact is, and as I’ve already told you, the right definitions of what is truthful and what is falsehood are god’s intellectual property. They are embodied in the reality of his son, lord and savior, Christ Jesus.
Okay, hold on. Some of you out there are about to turn me off. You are about to cooperate with the zookeepers. Fifty years ago, the zookeepers were known as “the man.” If you are about to turn me off because I just spoke the most taboo name of all names, you are about to make a mistake. You are about to do what the man wants you to do. If you keep listening, keep tuning in to this podcase, you will learn important things. I say that with humility, folks, because the important things in question are thousands of years old and absolutely essential to a proper understanding of truth and I am merely a messenger. People are starting to realize what’s really happening in the USA. I invite you to join us. We, the people, must resist. We must stop submitting to the zookeepers.
Resistance begins with properly understanding relativism and progressivism, the dynamics of the age. I’ve already defined relativism. It’s the inevitable consequence of rejecting the concept of absolute, objective truth, and embracing the seductive notion that man is self-sufficient, that we do not need a superior, supernatural being to tell us what is true and what is false, that we’re smart enough to figure that out on our own. Ha ha ha.
Progressivism is the source of energy behind relativism. Progressivism posits that new ideas are almost always better than old ideas. It’s a very attractive notion. It implies that new ideas make things better. That they represent advances. Everybody wants to believe they are advancing, right? Relativists come up with new ideas, and progressivism drives the new ideas, spreads them, makes them popular.
By the way, if you’re listening to this and wondering “who is this guy?” As I already said, but it’s worth repeating, I am, among other things, what is known as a “parenting expert.” I advise on matters pertaining to causing children to get in gear and grow up and get married and raise children and love God and their neighbors.
I’m a parenting expert. It’s a fascinating designation and parenting is a fascinating subject, so let’s start right there.
The first thing you need to know is that parenting is not the same as raising children. For one thing, parenting is a very emotionally and intellectually arduous process. Most people today say that parenting is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. There’s no doubt about it, in fact…this “parenting” thing is stressful, confusing, frustrating—infuriating, even. Furthermore, it destroys relationships, especially marriages. Some of you have already experienced that.
Child rearing, by contrast, is simple. God made it simple because he wants everyone, regardless of how smart they might be, to raise his children properly. People who simply go about the simple process of raising children will encounter bumps in the road, but mere childrearing does not, in and of itself, create the sort of disasters and tragedies that parenting creates.
The fact is…and it takes someone my age to see this clearly…the raising of children has fallen into disrepair since American parents began listening to people like me – psychologists and other mental health professionals…people with impressive titles and capital letters after their names – tell them how to do it. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, mental health people successfully convinced American parents that they needed professional advice to raise kids properly. It took highly skillful marketing, but they pulled it off.
In the next episode of this exciting and suspenseful podcast series, I’m going to tell you how that’s worked out. Here’s a preview: it hasn’t. It hasn’t worked out for anyone…children, parents, families, communities, schools. It’s been a trainwreck, this business of listening to psychologists – remember, folks, I am one – tell us how to raise children.
I’m John Rosemond, your host for because I said so, the only podcast on childrearing worth listening to. Yep, I actually said that. Keep listening and I guarantee you will agree. In the meantime, until next time, that is, check out my websites at johnrosemond.com and parentguru.com, where you will find every resource you need to become the parent you have always wanted to be. Sayonara, folks. See you next time!