I’ve read a lot of parenting books (some together with Kirk), listened to lots of speakers on the subject and have tried to glean from parents much more experienced than we.
Philosophies abound. There’s “first time obedience”, “grace-based”, “child centered”, “parent centered”, “pet centered”, “attached”, “detached”, and on and on. I read or listen to something and in my head it is perfect. I think I’ve found the magic potion that is going to transform our household, and then I try to implement it and reality sets in. I’m sure for every theory or method out there there is an equal argument for the opposite method.
We have yet to find that one-sized fits-all secret formula. I guess it’s really well hidden. In fact, the more that we are in this thing called “parenting” the more confusing it gets at times.
There is one concept, though, that is both freeing and overwhelming. It’s also something I completely believe!
The most important thing in parenting is:
One, becoming what you should be. And two, staying close enough to the children for it to rub off.” ~Anne Ortlund
The freeing part comes in the fact that I don’t have to find a secret formula or perfectly execute a list of do’s and don’ts. The overwhelming part is knowing exactly what I am in my flesh and how that affects my children.
The other day I was in my room and the girls started arguing in the other room and Ella had words that were critical and harsh toward Addie, and yet they were eerily similar to my own. OUCH! At the same time, though, I think it is important for our kids to know that we are in process too, and I think admitting our imperfections and letting them see grace being accepted in our own lives gives them grace for themselves. We are not called to be God to our children. We are called to live a godly life and show them our need, and ultimately their need for a Savior.
This video from Kirk Cameron sums things up beautifully. Sometimes I can’t remember all the things I’m supposed to do or not do, but this I can remember:
So, instead of reading another parenting book right now I am choosing to spend that time envisioning what I hope my kids will become and work at surrendering to God in a way that allows me to become those things as well. Here is a short list I came up with.
I hope that my kids grow up to:
Be secure in Christ
Know the approval and love of Christ in their lives
Know their gifts and use them for God’s glory
Be discerning and wise
Be a lover of the Word
Surround themselves with great friends/spouse
Take the risks God calls them to
Have faith that can move mountains
So, now the question is, am I these things, and how can I work toward them?? I think I might start with “grace-filled” and begin by being grace-filled toward myself.
Blessings to you as you are being transformed in your own heart and mind,