We recently went to a church event where Caroline (unfortunately) ended up being the only child present. We had every reason to expect that there would be many children there, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead we were in a home filled with about twenty adults and Caroline. She was obviously disappointed, but managed pretty well given the situation. (The presence of make your own ice cream sundaes helped!) We stayed for a short time and then left sooner than we originally expected. As we were leaving, I heard someone say something about Caroline being shy.
I confess I always struggle with feeling slightly defensive when that happens.
I kept going and didn’t say anything. I wasn’t going to correct another adult in front of Caroline. But I really dislike it when people label children “shy” right in front of them.
I also dislike it when people label my child shy because she isn’t. If they had the opportunity to spend a little time with her in a less threatening environment, they would see that for themselves. But because a six year old child is a bit reserved and on the quiet side while surrounded by twenty adults she doesn’t know she’s shy?
The Highly Sensitive Child
Just this morning I was reading online from the start of The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them. (I just ordered it.) It was so encouraging because it fits so well with our experiences with Caroline. In the book the author tackles the myth of shyness and how for highly sensitive children it isn’t necessarily shyness when they don’t respond as other children do. There are many other factors that can be at play.
I guess God was preparing me before I went over to Karen’s site and saw this video. Voddie Bauchum is explaining the selfish sin of shyness, why spanking regularly is a biblical imperative, and why adults are sinning if they tell a child it is okay not to shake hands with them. Honestly, it is hard to listen to him say some of this stuff, but please take the few minutes it takes and listen to it.
There is so much that is disturbing in that video I hardly know where to begin. But here’s two direct quotes that not only are disturbing, they aren’t even biblically accurate.
“You need to pay more attention to me than I pay to you.” (Said by the parent to the child)
“The world doesn’t revolve around you. Your world revolves around me.” (Funny, I thought our world was supposed to revolve around Christ.)
Shyness is a Sin?
Can anyone point to the passage of Scripture where it says that being shy is a sin? Where does it say that a child should shake hands and exchange pleasantries with any random adult who extends a hand? I don’t remember such a place. Where does it say in Scripture that a six year old child should be eager to shake hands with any strange man who walks up to her?
My heart breaks for the sensitive children whose parents listen to this man and take it to heart. As I said in a comment on Karen’s blog, if we had followed his advice with Caroline and spanked her relentlessly until she decided she didn’t want any more… Our family relationships would be completely ruined. We spanked her a couple of times before the age of three or so. To this day (and even while typing this) I feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.
Spanking is easy. Showing you have power over a child by hitting them all day or five times before breakfast is easy. Demanding that they see you as the center of the universe is easy. But don’t be surprised when you get terrible long-term results.
The Overwhelming Benefits of Studying Your Child
Studying your child and trying to figure her out is hard work. Observing your child and asking God to give you insights into what makes her tick is hard work. Choosing to be patient and long-suffering when she acts up because she can’t verbally express what she is feeling is hard work. Looking for patterns of behavior that help you understand what impacts her the most is hard work. But don’t be surprised when God honors your desire to love your child and lay your life down for your child and gives you a loving home full of joy.
Dear God, please protect the sweet children of the people who listen to this man.
(Edited to add: Please note that the comments include a great deal of additional content.)