Typical Dads on the Supernanny Show

I read an interesting article today by Ingrid Schlueter, a co-host of the Crosstalk Radio Talk Show on the VCY America Radio Network. While I don't agree with everything she wrote, she did have a few unique observations about men and our leadership in our homes. She writes:

If anyone wants a glimpse of what has gone wrong with American men in general and American fatherhood in particular, the ABC show Supernanny would be a good place to start. You can't help but feel sorry for these grown men who are beaten up regularly on national television by offspring who barely reach their knee caps. This isn't the brand of manhood that scaled the cliffs at Point du Hoc on D-day, and it certainly isn't the fatherhood that turned out the great founders of our nation.

The fact is, these hapless men who are bested by two-year-olds and who are spit upon, kicked, hit and otherwise abused are the sad product of an effeminized culture where women run the show and men are made to feel they need to apologize for being male. The pint-sized, foul-mouthed hellions shown on national TV week after week are frightening. These are undisciplined savages who will pay a high personal price for their fathers' weakness. We will all pay a high price for these father failures for that matter. Supernanny can only do so much.

Christian homes should stand in stark contrast to the zoo-like home environments featured on television. While order can be achieved in any home, Christian or non-Christian, when a father takes charge, there is simply no excuse for Christian homes to descend into chaos. While the TV solution is to have a British nanny jet over to America to rescue the latest domestic train-wreck, the real solution is for fathers to be what God commands them to be. Too often, women are the ones running things in homes today.

I witnessed a scenario recently that demonstrated just how true this is. A family sat in front of us at a church we were visiting. The children ranged in age from about 11 down to 2. The kids were out of control. The younger children were talking out loud, squealing, and wresting hymn books from one another. Cheerios crunched underfoot, juice cups were thrown. One child tugged at the hair of an unfortunate parishoner in front of him. Throughout the ordeal, the harried mother threatened, glared, wrestled and fought with the pew full of kids. The father sat at the end of the pew, oblivious to the fact that his own offspring had completely destroyed the atmosphere for every worshiper within the line of vision and earshot of his family. Finally, in exasperation, the mother wrestled a screaming toddler out of the pew and out the door. The father proceeded to ignore the remainder of his miscreant tribe while they generally created mayhem for the rest of the service. Never once during the entire hour did the father take charge. The harassed mother looked exhausted and downright hostile. The dad was apparently living somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

Fathers are vested with the ultimate responsibility for the upbringing of their children. When they allow children to disobey and delegate to the mother the discipline of their children, they are destroying their own homes and in actuality, destroying their own children. The children in that pew should have learned from the earliest age that to disobey, (sin), would result in meaningful and painful correction. This creates a remarkably powerful disincentive to repeat the behavior. The father is to use biblical correction—physical correction—if he is to fulfill Scripture's commands. Too many fathers and mothers today are taking their child rearing philosophies from the nonsense published by both secular and Christian psychological experts.

We as Christian women need to challenge our husbands to take charge of disciplinary policy from the first and not interfere with their decisions. There is a temptation to step in and lobby for our children if we think that discipline is unfair. To do so in front of children, however, is terrible because it undermines the authority of the father in the home. Wives should take their concerns to their husband later, but to actively criticize or second-guess a father's discipline handling in front of a child is a recipe for disaster. A father who refuses to listen to his wife's request for help in areas of discipline is taking a hammer to his own forehead. His failure to do right will become a source of pain for the rest of his life.

A well-ordered home is a glimpse of heaven on earth. A home where a father has ceded authority to the mother and who passively attempts to ignore the chaos in his home while gripping the television remote, is more like a taste of hell on earth. The existence and popularity of a show like Supernanny is a vivid testimony to just how far away our fathers and homes are from what they ought to be in this country. When God's Word is revered, however, and fathers assume the complete responsibility for the state of their homes, there can be godly order and peace. As the husband and father recognizes that before God, he is the high priest of his own home, he will seek to govern his family in love and honor. This is what brings praise and glory to God, as others look at the fruit of a father's labor and see children who fear the Lord and who are a gift to society. The future of the church and our land depend on such families. May the Lord grant us a great deal more of them.

Good food for thought for all of us. Couples might benefit from reading Schlueter's words together and discussing how they can, with God's leadership, more effectively create consistent parameters of discipline together.