"Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state."
So said the psychologist and philosopher, William James, sometime during the 19th century.
James' quote sums up one of man's fundamental errors in perception; we fail to recognize that the accumulation of our actions determines our character.
As my father once said, "Selling your soul is a series of negotiations with the devil."
In other words, it begins with the little things we do, and eventually those little things become big.
It's precisely this shortsightedness that parenting guru, John Rosemond, is aiming to counteract with his identification of certain principles that you must know and understand if you are to raise your children well.
Rather than let children steep in the stew of their own bad habits, Rosemond is hearkening parents to raise their children in the way of right habits instilled during childhood.
This training must begin in early childhood if you want to raise children who aspire towards attaining virtuous behavior in adulthood, and who make a positive contribution to society, rather than staining it with their ill conduct.
Learning to develop the habit of choosing right over wrong does not happen by accident. It is your duty as a parent to train your children in the ways of moral behavior, so the seed of morality can take root in their hearts, and they will grow into noble and just characters.
To this end, when you lead your children with love and authority, as Rosemond proposes, your children will naturally respect you. If you can't inspire their respect, then you'll have a difficult time raising them well.
Without respect, it becomes the natural thing to rebel, as the colonialists did when they rebelled against the tyranny of King George lll, and as a child does when he rebels against the incompetency of his parents which, in a sense, is itself a kind of tyranny.
When you fail to train your children in the ways of right conduct, you suppress the seed of goodness in your children's hearts. Is this not a form of moral oppression?
Morally good people are happier people. We all want our children to be happy, right? Ironically, in our pursuit to ensure their happiness, we often times diminish it.
John Rosemond identifies three seasons of child rearing that are crucial to know and understand if you are to raise your children in the right way.
The first season is what he calls the "Season of Service" which is the period during the first two years of a child's life.
As the child is wholly dependent upon you for his survival, as he is unable to understand the consequence of his behaviors, during this time, you will make your child a priority, and, consequently, you will put your marriage on the back burner.
Does this surprise you? It should surprise you because in the progressive modern era, the marriage is always on the back burner, and this is one of the fatal flaws when raising children, as you'll see.
As I was saying, during season one, your child will eventually develop the belief that you are there for the sole purpose of serving him, because that's what you've been doing from the day he was born.
As your child gets closer to the age of two, however, and he begins to be able to function more independently, this situation must quickly shift or the child will be at risk for serious character flaws, and you will be at risk of letting open the floodgates of Hell.
The season, at this point, should change and move into what Rosemond identifies as the second season or the "Season of Leadership and Authority". This is the period of saving grace.
Season two is absolutely critical for establishing the correct relationship with your child, so he will develop the proper understanding of the relationship between himself, you, and the world in which he lives.
Your child needs to learn that that world does not revolve around him; there is a right way to behave and a wrong way to behave, and that good moral character will be the result of right choices, and from those right choices happiness will flow.
A child raised well will be trained in the habit of making the right choices in his life.
The next step then is for you to establish the right understanding in the child. You, his mother, will gracefully shift from your role of servant, and you, his father, will shift from your role of parenting aide into your unified role of authority figure in your child's life.
You will do this by "acting like you know what you are doing" according to the traditional way of child-rearing as described in Rosemond's book "Making the 'Terrible' Twos Terrific".
Rosemond advises you to be "decisive, directive, and steadfastly purposeful" as the leading authority in your child's life.
To reestablish the family balance during season two, the first thing you will do is to restore your marriage as the priority in your family.
Without a happy marriage, there will be no happy family, so you must understand that protecting your marriage from decay is your first duty, after season one, if you plan to raise your children well.
By the age of three, if you have been successful during season two, then your child will have slowly learned that the world does not revolve around him, but that he has a place in his family and that his place is to pay attention to you, his parents, to follow in your good ways, and to be obedient to your wishes.
What I've just described is what Rosemond refers to as season three. Your child will learn that when he doesn't obey you, there will be consequences because there are always consequences to our actions and choices in life.
The sooner a child learns this maxim; the easier his life will be.
This means not trying to protect your child from every bump, scrape, or blow to his ego.
If you fail to move your family from season one to season two, then your children will live with the erroneous belief that the world revolves around them.
If the world revolves around them, the assumption is that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, without consideration for other people's feelings or wishes. They will believe that the rules of life bend for them.
People who lack consideration and respect for others are arrogant, and arrogance, according to the moral teaching as understood through the seven deadly sins, is the worst of all character traits.
As parents we unconditionally love our children, but you have to engage in tough love, which is a much kinder love than giving a child everything he wants.
The former produces happy, loving children who grow into happy, caring adults, and the latter produces malcontents who think the world revolves around them, and who never learned to respect the gift of life; neither their own or anyone else's.
Since the invasion of progressive parenting theories by modern psychology (psychology was original the study of the soul before the behavioralists removed the soul), beginning in the 1960s, we've witnessed a loss of traditional child-rearing principles and practices.
In their place we've seen a deluge of theories about how to raise a child, all of which said theories have not worked, according to Rosemond and anyone else born before 1970 who's been paying the least bit of attention.
Where parenting is concerned, modern psychology has left us with a country whose parents are confused (60,000 parenting books show up in an Amazon search!), whose children are malcontents (mental health problems have taken a significant jump upwards in the past fifty years), and whose citizen's don't understand that if you choose a person of disreputable character into office—right and left included—then you will get leaders with no moral compass.
Leaders who care more about fame and fortune than they do about making sure that you and your family are safe, you have food on your table, you have a roof over your head, and your children are educated well enough to vote a decent man into office.
As a country we can do better than this; and do better, we must.
If you enjoyed this, you might like my free download Ten Books Every Well-Educated Child Should Read.
If you need help with homeschooling, you can schedule a one-hour consultation with me (that's usually all you'll need) http://bit.ly/2GJAZEr