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July 13, 2005

Gary Ezzo and the Stains of Time

Mollie blogs on the concerns she sees at the heart of the Ezzo issue in beneath the stains of time the feelings disappear

". . .the darkest aspect of the teachings of ezzo and the like is not in the abandonment of babies and small children to cry themselves to sleep, not in the slapping of infants and toddlers for acting on God-given curiosity, heinous as i believe those abuses of power to be. these are only glimmers of the scariest thing of all, the obsession with having control. the need to look the part of the perfect Christian parent, to never be embarrassed by a disruptive toddler, a goofy looking teenager. the need to have every moment a picture of perfection, with children who do not express any emotion other than smiling compliance at every command, the family climate set at a breezy sixty eight degrees year 'round.

. . .

does Christ demand perfection of me? no! my only perfection comes from Christ alone, not from orchestrating a perfectly regimented lifestyle. why would i expect more of my child than Christ expects from me?

does Christ taunt me with sin and then slap me down and manipulate me and punish me every time i disobey? no! he covers me with grace and mercy for every minute of my life. when the King has forgiven my debt of "twenty years' wages", why would i in turn expect my child to pay to me the debt of "one day's wage?" (matthew 18:21-35)

does God answer me when i cry out to him, my father? yes! there is comfort and healing found in Christ. why would i then not answer the cries of my infant?

why would i not do everything i could to parent my child in the way God parents me?

This post is part of the Ezzo Week 2005 series focusing on Gary Ezzo's parenting teachings.


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Another perspective.......

I think I would hate babysitting most of your children! You are quick to brand Ezzo and blind to your own shortcomings. You claim that he keeps parents from loving their children and you rely on your own sinful permissiveness--or laziness-- and call it love. Don't you see where you're headed? This world is full of kids who honestly think the world revolves around them. Those are the 'teenagers' that are constantly whining that life is not fair. You bet it's not fair! It'll never be fair. It wasn't fair that God punished Jesus for my sin.

Get over your self-righteousness and listen to what Mr. Ezzo is saying. He has developed a logical system of child training based on Scripture. If his logic is faulty in one place or another, eat the banana and throw out the peel. Search the Scriptures yourself to see whether these things are true. Don't rely on motherly instincts or how something strikes you. Get your Bible out and find the answer.

If you disagree with spanking your children, it's not Mr. Ezzo you're opposing. It's God. The Bible is plain about spanking being the method of training children. You won't find time outs there. Distraction and deprivation (as child training methods) are not forthright and don't have the integrity of a straightforward discussion of the infraction and the punctuation of the spanking to end the matter.

Fathers are commanded to be loving toward their children and not provoke them to wrath. The plain answer to child training seems to me to be honesty and consistency. Don't sell Mr. Ezzo short. What he is recommending teaches the child very early to listen to your voice and believe what you say. It's perfect practice for obeying what God says. If the love is missing, it's your own fault (don't give a stone when your child asks for bread). A child who is trained to obey the first instruction is a pleasure to live and work and play with. And an honest, consistent, loving parent will always keep the love of the child.

Teach your children that their every whim WILL NOT be catered to, that God placed them under your jurisdiction--and most of all--that they were not made for themselves. You'll raise adults that put their buggies away at the grocery store to protect other people's cars, that turn in a lost watch instead of keeping it, that will stop beside the road to help a stranded motorist. And if God grants them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, they'll be further along in their obedience to God having been taught a habit of obedience to their parents.

Posted by: Hopeful at July 14, 2005 10:19 AM

Forgive me for being quite far out of the loop on this (as I am oblivious to the many modern trends in parenting) but how widespread is this man's ideas? Just how influential is he?

Posted by: Matthew at July 14, 2005 02:32 PM


But how widespread is this man's ideas? Just how influential is he?

It's hard to gauge, in some ways. Babywise is selling like hotcakes according to Amazon. I'm also seeing a wider approval for BW among those who are being introduced to it outside of a church setting. I'm still seeing lots of young, Christian mothers (especially among the new generation of mamas) being advised to try it. GFI-Australia seems to be continuing to grow. I don't know about the sales/popularity of the religious materials (renamed from GKGW etc to "Let the Children Come Along the _______ Way.") Completely subjectively, it seems to me that there seems to be a resurgence of Ezzo popularity in the last year or so, in Christian circles.

On the other hand, as a business GFI has drastically downsized. They once had 30+ employees in California. At some point there was a scandal regarding embezzlement and a family member which Ezzo has said was a misunderstanding. They switched to operating from the Ezzo's garage in Cali, and a few years ago they moved to South Carolina. My understanding is they have an office in their home, employ a woman in the midwest who telecommutes, and outsources the shipping and promotion, etc.

I still meet enough young mothers (in real life and online) who find Babywise very alluring, in spite of the medical misinformation, Ezzo's poor reputation, and the many families who at one point used Ezzo's materials and then ditched them.

And I still find people who defend Ezzo's ideas as Biblical, in spite of his Scripture misuse and his personal pattern of disregarding issues of church discipline.

Ezzo.info is a wealth of information about Gary Ezzo and his teachings. The site owner and web manager take painstaking care to document everything and not propogate rumors. I consider it to be a very credible resource.

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 14, 2005 08:13 PM

Hopeful, Grace-Based Parenting does not equal permissiveness (or laziness, as you call it). It entails dealing with our children the way the Lord Jesus deals with us. And I have yet to see schedule feeding, letting your child cry it out until he vomits, and not picking up your child when they need you, anywhere in the Bible.

Mr. Ezzo purports ideas that are dangerous to children. TulipGirl knows all about his methods. She has researched him extensively and she even used to follow his plan of childrearing. She gave him a chance, the chance you called her to give him, and she found his "child training" plan to be lacking on a number of levels. She wouldn't presume to post here if she didn't.

And believe me, her children know who the authority in their home is... thank God it isn't Gary Ezzo.

Posted by: Jennifer at July 14, 2005 08:19 PM

Jennifer, et al,

Sorry to rattle your cage. I'll go away.

Posted by: Hopeful at July 14, 2005 10:29 PM


No one here is espousing that the world ought to revolve around children in an unhealthy manner.

As Mollie said in her original post, "i do want them to respect me as mama. i want them to know that ernie and i are the leaders, that we will lead the team in the best direction it should take. we are in charge and they must know that we mean what we say. if our household is in chaos then something must be done, the leaders must have things under control."

We all believe in disciplining our children. Discipline and Disciple come from the same root. We are making disciples when we discipline. We may not be making disciples in the way that Gary Ezzo, Michael Pearl or Richard Fugate want us to, but we are making disciples for Christ.

I was honestly taken aback by your comment. My daughter was demand-fed, worn in a sling and I basically did the opposite of Babywise I and II and at 1 year old, we have four families who literally fight to babysit her. They call us up and tell us to take a date night so they can have her. This has a lot to do with her personality, but she's managing quite well in her Ezzo-free world.

Posted by: kristen at July 14, 2005 10:37 PM


It's quite late, so I'll only be able to answer briefly tonight. First, let me say, you are a jackass. Just to get that out of the way.

How else to describe someone who would stride so self-righteously and pompously into a discussion as you have? You know NOTHING about how this woman raises her children. Your post is a series of accusations based on nothing more than your own imaginings. Well, based on those and the straw-man cant of Gary Ezzo's books.

A good example: You assume that TulipGirl is blanketly anti-spanking. This is because you aren't really debating her, but rather what you would like to believe about her as an Ezzo-critic.

Further, there is nothing remotely permissive or lazy in her parenting style. You would like there to be, because you live in a simplistic dichotomous world where people are either Ezzo clones or 'secular mystics.' Take off the blinders and you might see the world like it actually is.

As for you babysitting our children, we actually have a strict family policy against hiring small-minded prigs for that task. But thanks for letting us know.

TulipGirl has TAUGHT Gary Ezzo's material. It's a fair bet she knows his work better than you. If you'd like to debate her on the individual merits of his work, then do so. But spare us the histrionics.

Posted by: Discoshaman at July 14, 2005 11:05 PM

hopeful: i will echo discoshaman and say that those with such horrific and adversarial attitudes towards children exhibiting developmentally appropriate behavior will never care for my children.

i'm a little taken aback that you are so arrogantly assuming that we're all ignoring what the Bible says about child-rearing. why don't you tell us that we're all going to hell while you're at it? since you believe that we do not believe the Bible in one area, are we believers at all?

apparently you've got some serious control issues of your own. gary ezzo has not only sucessfully manipulated you into rearing your children according to his twisted "recommendations" but he has turned you into a zealot for him, a role which requires manipulating your children into emotion-free compliance in addition to manipulatively insisting that others are sinning if they do not do so as well!

i pray that you have your own epiphany with Grace.

Posted by: greenemama at July 15, 2005 08:50 AM

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