KEYWORDS: independence, system, kids, time, freedom, way

Independence Through Dependency

Karen Zerby

—By Maria Maria #97 DO 2534 4/89

1. Many people, in & out of the Family, have said that we baby our young people too much. They say that we require them to be too dependent on us, & that we're so afraid that they'll get out & do something wrong that we've got them tied so securely to our apron strings that they'll never be able to get free. At first glance, it does seem like we don't really give them enough freedom or independence.

2. On the other hand‚ the System gives their kids way too much. They can't help it because of the structure of the System; once they start sending them to school, they're gone. They walk to school on their own, they walk home on their own & what they do during that time only they know. Even 5 & 6-year-olds ride their bikes to school & back, & if that isn't enough, when they do get home, more often than not, their parents are still at work. At night they're often left at home alone again while parents pursue extra-curricular activities. They're out of touch with their parents from the time they're real little.

3. I see a lot of cause for alarm in that, but I don't see any harmful results in closely supervising your children so you know what they are doing at all times, in giving them the constant training that they need, even up through their teen years.—Not keeping them babies all their lives—just giving them independence gradually & much more slowly than the System does.

4. I think that's really the way the Lord wants it. If we're going to go to one extreme or the other, it's much better that we go to the overly protective, overly instructive extreme. Don't be afraid to keep reminding your children of things in whatever ways you find most effective. Repetition is the law of memory, & only by repetition will appropriate actions & attitudes become habitual.

5. Our David is now at the age (14) where he's really wanting to assert his independence & do things on his own. For example, he's quite a competent handyman now. However, when he's doing handyman work with Grandpa, Grandpa supervises him at every step, what hammer to use & what nail to use & how to hammer the nail in. For David, who wants to prove he can do it on his own, it must sometimes be a bit frustrating, but he takes it well & yields to it.—And every time he works with Grandpa he learns something new, & Dad is drilling him to see how well he knows what he's already been taught. Think of the wonderful training he's getting in doing things the right way!

6. You have to make sacrifices, & responsible independence has a price. You teens have to choose what you want: Do you want to be independent now & do things your own way & end up not doing them well or not doing them right?—Or do you want to remain dependent for awhile & really learn your lessons the right way, so when you finally do become independent you're going to know what you're doing & be independent in the right way? Don't worry!—Even though the process seems slow, your independence will come eventually, & you will have families of your own & will have to make important decisions where you will be the one ultimately responsible.

7. On the other hand, we have all made the choice to be dependent on the Lord & Dad & leadership & the Family & usually be told in detail what to do & how to do it. So we certainly aren't independent in that respect.

8. For us in the Family, independence is a far less valuable commodity than it is in the System. It ranks way down the line in importance‚ compared with how the System ranks it. Our whole life is based on being dependent on each other & dependent on Dad & most of all‚ dependent on the Lord. The Devil's System is almost the exact opposite from the Lord's!

9. So even though we understand that you kids do need some independence from us as your parents, we still put the emphasis, just as with all of us, on dependence on leadership, & many times your parents are your leaders. So independence isn't that important or even desirable for you‚ & if you're dependent on your parents a bit longer it really isn't going to hurt you. In fact, it will be well worth it & pay off in the long run.

10. What is independence for teens in the System, anyway? (Fam.: To make their own choices?) (Fam.: To be individuals & to be somebody & to get free from their parents & to have the power to choose to do whatever they wish, & think whatever they want.) Yes. But all of these things don't mean as much in the Family, because we want you to grow up like us, hopefully. We want you to be the same as much as possible. We don't want you to have freedom in the System way, because that sort of freedom means separation from the Family.

11. Consider freedom of thought: Because we have the standard of the Word that the Lord has given us to live by, we want you to think what the Lord thinks‚ what we know He wants you to think in regard to your attitudes & philosophy of life. We don't want you to think anything different. Sometimes you're free to do whatever you want in developing your personal talents & in pursuing favoured ministries.—Although even in these, you counsel with the Lord about it, & seek His Will. But what other freedom do we really promote?

12. (Fam.: One big step of independence comes when a teen makes the decision that he is in the Family not just because he was born into the Family but because he wants to be in the Family. It's that freedom of choice to decide, "Yes, I'm going to serve the Lord." That's the ultimate in the freedom we want to give them‚ the freedom to choose to go on with the Lord & make their own commitment & dedication to serving Him.)

13. Another freedom we give you is: After you've finally learned to do something, & we can trust you to do it well, you've earned the freedom to do it without having an adult right over you all the time. For instance, many of you care for small children, which is a very adult responsibility which many of you, even you young teens, do very very well—better than System adults!—Also handyman work & cooking as well as many other very important jobs that you young people do‚ that System kids haven't even thought of beginning to do.

14. We give you independence & freedom after you've earned it. But that's the difference.—We wait till we know you've earned it. You have very close supervision for a long time until we know you've earned it, contrary to kids in the System who want & get their independence before they've earned it! They get it actually when they start off to school. They haven't earned anything at 5-years-old, but they get their independence & their freedom at that early age! Of course during school hours they are more or less supervised, but their other waking hours are pretty much their own. So many parents are so busy with both of them working at jobs‚ they often have no idea what's going on with their kids! So their children have a lot of freedom & independence which they haven't earned, they don't deserve, & they actually shouldn't have because they don't know how to handle it!

15. In some ways we do have a lot more freedom & independence, but on the whole we believe in restriction of freedom. We want to keep you kids where we know you should be, until you've learned for yourselves that this is what you want. The System would say that we keep you until we've really brainwashed you, which in a way is true...but we do it with the Word!

16. The Word is the absolute & it is the standard! That's why the System is so far off: They're utterly opposed to any control or any submission at all, or any dependence on anybody.—Even on God & His Word! But when it comes right down to it, they're actually in total bondage.—To the Devil & the System, but they don't understand or even realise that. Most of them think they're free, but if they seriously stopped to think about it‚ they must certainly realise that they're not free. But still, it's a concept they like to promote. This claim that they're free & their System's free sounds good & it helps them to feel better, but it's just ridiculous!

17. They're bound to the Devil, just as we are bound to the Lord & are love slaves of His; we never want to become independent from Him. So your goal of independence should be to grow responsible & mature enough to be able to eventually carry out your duties & jobs & attend to personal habits diligently & accurately without having to be supervised or nagged. But you must be willing to be bound while you are learning to be free.

18. The only way you can learn all these skills, jobs & faithfulness in duties, is to be "slaves" to your parents or supervisors for a sufficient amount of time, actually quite a long time, until you can finally do it well on your own out of habit. So it takes "slavery" for a long time until you finally have learned it, & can be trusted to be independent.

19. The kind of independence I'm talking about is so you can be mature adults with a family or flock of your own. That's a good goal, a good reason to become independent. But independence like that involves a lot of responsibility. You're not really going to be maturely independent until you've been dependent for the time that it takes to learn all these responsibilities.

20. If there is a right reason in the System at all, a good reason to become independent, it's to be able to stand on your own, get married & have children. That's one of our motivations for making our teens independent, but we prepare our teens a lot better than the System does theirs.

21. If our teens wanted to, they could have families at a much younger age & make their marriages work a lot better than System kids can. We have prepared & trained our children much better for independence. We have given them a much greater degree of independence along that line than the System kids. In spite of this, we always get those accusations from outsiders: "You're sheltering your kids too much & you're tying them to your apron strings!—They can't do anything on their own & they can't have their own friends. They've got to be with you all the time. They can't grow up!" But they are wrong & we are right. This is the way our children should grow up. We want them to be dependent in those respects.

22. (Fam.: We saw a documentary on Queen Elizabeth, & I think the kids really related to it because it was so much like their own lives. Because she was royalty, she was always seen with her sister, Margaret, or on occasion with a very few selected friends. They had her completely dependent on that constant training, so that when the time came for her ministry of being queen, she was ready. But that's what it took, that sacrifice. I remember Techi said, "Hey, that sounds familiar!") That's a parallel to our own royal training. The Lord calls us a royal priesthood‚ a chosen generation (1Pet. 2:9)‚ & we have a ministry to fulfill & a goal to aim for & we've got the motivation for it.

23. We've got to stick together! We're all members of one body, including our kids. Everybody's a member of the same body‚ & the individual members can't get too independent, otherwise you're not going to be able to work in harmony, in a coordinated fashion. (See 1Cor. 12:12-27.)

24. I'm happy with the way our kids are turning out. We've kept them very dependent & have been very protective of them, but on the other hand, we can see that they can accomplish a lot of things on their own. They're capable of it now—they've learned it.—They're now practicing what they've learned over & over & forming very good habits.

25. But we're still going to keep being as protective as possible of them until we can't be any more, & then we can be sure that their training has become such a part of them‚ such a habit, that we know they can be on their own. We've been going over & over & over it so long‚ we know they know it & would not have serious problems if they would have to be on their own. We would know that they could do it because we've been together so long that we know they've learned it.

26. We can tell that they're becoming responsible & independent. They've formulated good habits & are learning to work on their own, they're learning to see projects through to completion & they're becoming mature & responsible citizens of our New Nation, as well as beautiful ones!

27. So we can see that in almost all ways‚ they could be independent. I'm sure they're much more capable of independence & better equipped for it than System kids their own age. It's just that we haven't yet given them independence, but they've learned how to be independent even while being dependent & learning to be submissive. If we would let them loose now, they would be much more prepared than System kids their own age, who supposedly already have lots of independence, but are obviously very irresponsible & selfish.—They don't know how to handle the independence they've been given.

28. You can see that ours are already independent in various ways. You give them a job to do & they can carry it through even on their own. If you give them instructions they can carry out those instructions accurately & consistently. They can already make responsible decisions based on the Word & what they've learned & the counsel they've received.

29. So they can do almost everything that an adult can, at least on a mini-scale. So even our young teens like David, & pre-teens like Techi, are probably as capable of independence as most System kids who are getting out of high school‚ & maybe even college. It's just that we haven't given them their full independence & said, "Okay, you can go on your own now." I think they're doing much better now tied to our apron strings learning independence, than the other kids out there completely severed from the apron strings but not capable of handling the independence that they have!

30. So I vote for dependence as long as possible while they're learning independence, & learning to go it on their own under supervision in small steps & in small doses, little by little, slowly, without just saying, "Okay, do whatever you want to do & learn it on your own!" That's obviously not a good system!—Look at the wreck that the World's poor young people are in!

31. So in summary, although it seems like we don't give our kids any independence, we are constantly teaching them independence within our dependent atmosphere. In other words, we let them "drive on their own property." Then‚ when they do have to do things on their own, they'll know what to do & they'll be miles ahead of their System counterparts! They won't have been flung out to the System to be independent on their own without being prepared for it. They are being prepared in our dependent atmosphere. Of course, to the System, it looks like they have a complete lack of independence.

32. It's supervised, controlled independence, in a very dependent atmosphere, which is what they need. Actually, we start giving them responsibility & teaching maturity earlier than the System ever thinks about it! Even though the System supposedly has independence at a much earlier age, their teens simply don't have the maturity or the capability or the training to handle it.

33. So even though we supposedly pamper ours & supposedly "overprotect" them & keep them dependent on us, we are at the same time training them better for maturity & responsibility & independence.—And that's how it should be. David's learning to handle so many things on his own. We want them to have independence, but we want to supervise it as long as possible to make sure they know how to handle it correctly, that they learn to do things the right way, & to do what they're supposed to do.

34. Training children & teens requires constant supervision, continual supervision over a long period of time, to make sure they're living according to the Word, until making prayerful decisions becomes a habit for them. You simply cannot achieve that by doing it the way the System does & throwing the kids out on their own & saying, "Okay, here's your car & here's your college & here's your job! Go to it, now you have your independence!"

35. They have to have been learning this independence for a long time in a dependent, supportive atmosphere before they can actually have their full independence, their complete separation from you & transferal out into another Home or ministry or to a different location. But they can't do it capably & responsibly unless you train them in it for a long time before you actually cut them loose.—Amen?

36. GBAKY & give you lots of wisdom, love & patience in giving your children good preparation for their future ministries!