A comment on Jeff Murdock’s article in Meridian Magazine

In general, I like Meridian Magazine and have been an online subscriber for years, occasionally giving them a donation and have even been a contributing author.

But occasionally they also get off track, and last Friday was one of those times.

The article by Jeff Murdock was titled “4 Ways to Prevent Narcissism in Children.” Here are snippets from his four ideas:

1. “Telling children that they should ‘do their best’ is a loaded concept.”

2. “Christ says, ‘Be ye therefore perfect.’ While the concept is something to help us establish an ideal, once again, we must be careful.”

3. Be careful not to say “should” too much. “’Should’ is a word that can induce shame. Shame can lead to self-hate,” which he says can lead to narcissism. He also warns about saying “shame on you.”

4. A warning about telling kids that they are “special.”

Jeff Murdock is a full-time therapist and serves as the Director of Training for West Ridge Academy. That academy is a Utah youth residential treatment center.

I disagree with every point. I will continue to tell children to do their best, and teach them Christ’s admonition to “Be ye therefore perfect.” And on the “should” issue, I agree with him that we shouldn’t be negative and “shame on you” is negative. But I have no problem with “should.” And I happen to be currently serving as a Primary teacher where every Sunday children are taught that they are special.

Which all underscores the danger in relying on professional counselors, schooled in the “wisdom” of the psychologists of the world, for parenting advice.

I would rather turn to Alma, and the parenting example he set. I wonder what Mr. Murdock thinks of his comments when he reproved Corianton for his behavior. “Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry.” There’s that nasty “should” word. But oh, it gets worse. Alma talks about his “crimes,” and says that he intends to “harrow up” his soul.

But even in Alma’s counsel to the faithful Helaman, there are a lot of “shoulds” in that, too. In fact, practically the whole interview is one big “should” about what Alma expects of his son.

No, I don’t need any asterisks with footnotes from professional psychologists when I try to read and apply the Sermon on the Mount.



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About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
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