Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Parenting....some thoughts

I've recently realized something about myself. I'm someone who is influenced easily. When I read something someone writes it makes sense to me. Even if I didn't hold that position prior to reading it. If I see someone acting a certain way and it is working for them, it seems like a good idea. Now, thankfully although I'm intellectually influenced this way, I'm not particularly gunhoe about running off and emulating whatever I just saw. And I have a husband who is wonderfully rational, logical, and adept at dealing with a wife who is not.

One area though I have found that I really have let myself be very influenced in action by others is in my parenting. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Afterall, there are pleanty of people who are doing a great job raising their children, and it is wisdom to learn from the wise who have gone before you. But only if you are actually evaluating what is being done, not if you are just going "that looks good, I'll do that." For there are many good parenting strategies out there, and there are many bad ones, and there are even more which are good but simply not for every family.

You see, the place where we lived when I first got pregnant with my first child most people did the child rearing thing very similar. And there were really great results. It was immensely encouraging to sit and talk with people who had raised a large family who now served Christ and where raising God fearing children of their own. It wasn't like reading a book of someone we had never meant and wondering what their children were like, we had the results right before us. And a rather larger sample pool at that.

Then we moved. 2500 miles in fact. And we had another baby. And we changed some of what we had intended going in. Not bad changes I don't think, just changes. But what we didn't do was really evaluate how/why we were changing. It was a much more fly by the seat of our pants sort of change. More of a "when in Rome" sort of change.

So now, we're back looking at what we do and why. We know what our end goals are, we know what our underlying premise is. It is the nitty gritty of how that we are looking at. One thing that I am sure of, is that the nitty gritty how can be extreamly different from family to family. And further more, differences can be a good thing. God doesn't deal with all of His children in exactly the same way, so why should all families deal with theirs exactly the same? Or even with all the children in one family exactly the same? We are all unique, wonderfully and fearfully made children of our King and I think our parenting techniques can and should reflect this.

I'm not sure where this is going to leave us. We may go back to doing things like we originally intended. We may end up right where we are now. Or we might be lead into a different place entirely. My desire and prayer though is that we will be influenced by God and His Wisdom and desire for our family alone. There is a good chance that where ever we end up it isn't going to look like our friends from up north, or our ones from down south. Which I know can be hard. It is so much easier to be in a group where you all do things in the same way. But, just because we do it differently (if that does indeed end up being the case) it certainly won't be an indictment of those we know, or of us either. Living out our convictions for our individual family without trying to convince others of our righteness though can be hard. Or feeling the need to defend ourselves for that matter.

So, these are the thoughts that are occupying my mind as of late. It is an amazing thing we are entrusted with when raising children. These little eternal souls given into our hands for a season. May we all treat it with the gravity and joy which it is due, and may God lead us all into wisdom and understanding.

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