Wednesday, April 6, 2011
#212 Growing Kids God’s Way aka Babywise
96% of parents in Christian culture own a copy of Growing Kids God’s Way by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. The alternate version, On Becoming Babywise, is the secular edition, written by the same people but with all the God stuff taken out.
Growing Kids God’s Way enters your house by way of a church friend who loans it to you with ecstatic recommendation. “You can finally get some rest once your baby sleeps through the night! It just takes some discipline at first but it pays off!” The exhausted parent likes the sound of this. That baby sure is needy. Wakes them up every few hours to eat and stuff. The parents would like some sleep too so they don’t feel like fried hell all day. Plus, it’s God’s way. It says so right in the title. The Ezzos’ infant management plan (as they call it) enacted that very night.
It sounds reasonable enough. Put your baby on a schedule, what’s wrong with that? Schedules make children feel secure. But to schedule-ize your newborn you must let it cry. A lot. The Ezzos instruct you to be strong and not give in. They believe babies begin to show their sin nature early by crying for multiple feedings and encroaching on the parents’ schedule. They say that if you feed the baby when she cries, you are teaching her that the family revolves around her. And that’s not God’s way. (Or is it?)
Earnest Christians in the subtle trappings of Christian culture want to follow everything their church recommends, especially if it’s deemed to be God’s way. Per the counter-intuitive Ezzo guidelines, the baby is not fed when hungry but is woken from sound sleep so it will get on the mom’s schedule. The Ezzos reassure you that eventually the baby won’t cry so much and you’ll get eight hours of sleep a night by the time she’s two months old. But…why? The book’s implication is that the rest you get and control you’re exerting over your household will make it worthwhile. No validation is given to the primal mothering instinct. You can’t explain instinct. To the black-and-white thinking that sovereign in Christian culture, instinct is to be mistrusted and if at all possible, disregarded. There is no discussion about why God would endow mothers with such a strong instinct, either. No thought seems to be given to the emotional connection between parents and their children that is formed through “inconvenient” nighttime feedings and the like. No assertion that Jesus said serving others, especially the least of them, is serving him. No credence is given to the ways parents grow as people through the trials of parenting. Christian culture wants themselves a schedule and by golly, a schedule they shall have.
People enjoy books on what the Bible says in lieu of reading the Bible itself. It’s a daunting study, the original languages and contexts at all. People are content to believe what they are told about contexts and interpretations rather than go to the actual texts themselves.
Babywise may be the epitome of Christian culture mentality, coaching you to change your instincts or at least ignore them.
Further reading: Reviews and professional analyses of Babywise, Growing Kids God's Way and other Ezzo-authored material here. LHJ article here. Salon article here. Two YouTube videos from Babywise-endorsing mothers here and here.