You accuse me of sheltering my kids like it is a bad thing.
For 9 months they were part of my body. For another year+ they needed to be within arms reach for both nourishment and mobility.
They will walk out on their own into the world around the age of 18. But there is a a huge transition for them to go through between being a toddler and being an adult.
This transition is made possible through sheltering
It is a parent’s job and responsibility to help kids grow, learn about the world, and feel the pain of the world at a rate that they can handle and will benefit them. This is sheltering and I fully intend on continuing.Read the rest of this entry →
Last week I told you about our Simple Living – Take 2 where we downsized again. We went from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 1 bedroom apartment. Many of you (rightly) asked about the kids. We are a family of 4 living in a 1 bedroom apartment… that doesn’t work right? How does this work for the minimalist kids?
Since I had to take the book back to the library, I don’t have it on hand to give references or share some of the great quotes I found, but I wanted to share with you the idea and how we are trying to use it.
Soul fever is basically when kids get emotionally ‘sick’. He used the comparison with a physical fever because of the similarity.
Causes of Soul Fever
Physical fever come from over-activity, not enough rest, and exposure to sickness. Soul fever can be caused from over-activity, not enough rest, and exposure to stress. Too much stimulation and an inability to process or handle it.
What the author found was that kids in first world countries were exhibiting similar symptoms as kids who have gone through very traumatic situations (natural disasters or war) from a constant level of stress building up. Soul fever is when this constant stress tips over the top and starts being displayed.
Just like a fever, cough, runny nose, etc for physical sickness, kids with emotional ‘flu’s’ or soul fever start displaying symptoms. Just like each kid and germ creates different physical sicknesses, the symptoms for each kid with soul fever are different, but as a parent, we know something is up. They can be withdrawn, or hyperactive. They can be demanding or refuse everything. They can be destructive or controlling… the list goes on. Basically, what the author talked about is that we all have personality quirks, but it is stress that makes them really stick out.
As a parent, sometimes it is hard to put our finger on physical or emotional sickness symptoms, we just can tell something is up.
With physical sickness we put our kids to bed, cancel all activities, make them special food, cuddle and read books etc. The treatment for soul fever needs to be the same. Kids need to rest emotionally and heal/process. They need to have some really quiet days with little activity, lots of attention and maybe even hot soup.
This is where our society has a disconnect. Most parents (hopefully all parents) can tell when their kid has soul fever and is emotionally stressed beyond the processing point. They know something is up, they can tell something is different. But it is at this point that they either don’t know what to do, or they don’t want to slow down. Cancelling activities and staying home from school is a requirement for kids with physical fevers, but stressed out kids can be pulled around everywhere with promises, threats, treats, or other parenting tools until they have a really serious soul ‘fever’.
This is why a simple life for kids is so important. I do lots of things so that my kids can stay physically healthy and not get sick. A simple bubble around my kids and their life helps guard against this kind of emotional sick. Just like age is no barrier for physical sickness… it isn’t for soul fever either.
What I have loved about home school is that it is much easier to pull back and take a break. Whenever either kids hits a new concept that doesn’t come easily they take breaks and go lay down for 10 or 15 minutes. At first, I didn’t give them a choice. It wasn’t a punishment, it was just a rest if they were struggling and we weren’t getting anywhere. Now, they do it willingly, because they feel much better after a few minutes of quiet.
As adults we understand this. If we are in a stressful situation we need to pull out and have a few moments of quiet alone time to process.
So on this note, Lily especially has been struggling with a new concept in math the past few weeks. She can do it, and understands it, but it is mental exercises to get all the way through it and it has been stressful for her. I decided to take the whole week of Thanksgiving off. We haven’t had a day off school yet this year and the school system has had several already. I have done a few shortened or field trip days, but this week was just off. Nothing planned, no field trips, just sitting home doing nothing.
This was also because the book talked about the need for kids to have more unscheduled time. Scheduled time needs to be structured for the comfort of routine, but kids need lots of unstructured time where they can just play and learn to play. They need to learn how to play on their own and come up with their own entertainment because that is where they develop their creativity and imagination.
Well, Lily loved it. She read, colored, played Barbies as well as many other games she came up with on her own or played with me.
Ian, still needs some practice on this. With nothing to do, he becomes a terror. This is probably because he is the second child and hasn’t had much practice playing alone. By the second and third day he was doing a bit better. It was this week that he first chose a book (by himself) from the library, decided to read it to me (by himself) and read the whole thing (except 1 word) all by himself. It was Dr. Seuss ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. Easy words, but they aren’t short books. I am so excited! Sure, he has been reading for a few months and we have been practicing, but it was this week that he (several times) has chosen to read for fun. He also woke up Thursday morning and over breakfast decided to count to 100 for daddy. I was speechless. We haven’t done numbers past about 40 with his math yet. He went from 1-100 straight with no trouble. Was it our quiet week that helped with these two things? Who knows. Might have just been timing. Either way, taking the time off sure didn’t slow them down much.
I struggle with ‘Tiger Mom’ tendencies with my kids, especially with home school. I believe they can do much more than the school system would dish out and it has been proven because Lily (and now Ian) are working ahead of their age. With my learning and trying to practice more simplicity I have been bringing more and more simplicity into my kids life with home schooling as well as many other areas. It is a balance, but I am happy with where we are going and what we are learning.
I started reading Simplicity Parenting last weekend (off my November reading list) and was pulled in with the first page. There is no way I can give away everything in the the book, I recommend reading it, and would love discussing it together, but I wanted to share with you what has come of my beginning the book.
Disclaimer or note: I am not writing any of this to say that I am a good parent, I struggle with it. It is hard to come out and admit struggles, especially with something as close to home as parenting, but I hope with my sharing my experiences it can help others who are also struggling.
I came out of our room after reading the first few pages and said to my hubby “this has to change our parenting”. We have done a lot in the last year to simplify our lives and our family life already. I believe that the simplicity of schedule, of belongings, and of home schooling instead of the the sensory overload and social pressure of school all make a big difference with my children.
But, I knew/know it wasn’t helping as much as it could. My daughter still struggles, less now, but went through a bad week last week. She struggles with refusing to eat/being extremely picky, and goes through times when she can’t focus on school at all. At the age of 7 I can’t tell if it is intentional or not, but it seems more unintentional. It is so hard for me, because in her struggles, I see or feel my parenting fail, I want to do all I can to help her. When I ask or look for help, I feel like it is admitting that the fact that I am doing everything I can for her and spending nights awake stressing about it, and it still isn’t helping. There is no one parenting manual, there is more parenting theories out there than there is people on the earth and every child is different.
This is the only pic I caught of her ‘shopping’. She was moving so fast.
What I found in the first few pages of this book were stories of kids that struggled like Lily. I would love to tell you that everything is much better after finding the right ‘pill’ overnight, but it isn’t like that. What I wanted to share with you today is what I learned in these first few pages and what we are trying to do differently because of it.
What I learned (though not rocket science) is that kids are way over stressed and struggling and really need a simpler life. What the author was pointing out and discovering was that kids in our first world societies were acting and showing signs of ‘Post Tramatic Stress Disorder’ PTSD that are usually associated with very large wartime events or life-changing traumas. He discovered, in research all over the world, that the same type of disorder was being caused by little and constant stresses that built up.
Just like every kid in a refuge camp is going to process and have different issues, so children in our society all react differently to the intense pressure that is now on them. The truth is that they are being affected by the huge increase of stress.
Just think, even 50 years ago (maybe less) most kids didn’t have
daycare at 6 weeks of age,
rooms so full of toys that there is only small pathways
start school at the age of 3 (if they already weren’t in daycare)
multiple extra curricular activities
tv’s, phones and computers in their bedrooms (even as teenagers)
Ian got caught running by.
This is a mass of stuff and stimulation to take in and process. It seems like each year grows more crazy with advertising to kids, must-have toys, and new ‘necessary-for-learning’ extra curricular activities. I am an adult and learning I cannot handle all the information and choices put in front of me, so I can only imagine how crazy it is for kids.
We have cut out most of this stuff, but what the author started talking about was the mass of information and the adult world that kid were being exposed too. I had never thought of that. Neither of us are kid people so we have never been great with kid things. We have been functioning in an adult world and bring our kids with us.
First of we never fight in front of the kids, that should be a given. We never stress about not having enough money or get upset in front of them. That said, they are still getting lots of adult world through us.
We talk work, lots of work, in front of them. Being self-employed, work is a big thing, it is a constant problem to solve. Reading this book it made sence that the kids could be stressed by hearing all that. I want them to learn all about business and the excitement of creating a business and the joy of figuring it out. It is (typically) good stress to me, but they might not be able to handle it.
We have moved around lots in our life. That, by itself I don’t think is that bad, but all our discussions of moving and where and how have been around or even involved the kids. I want them to feel a part of the family and of the decisions, but reading this it makes perfect sense that they probably aren’t ready to process that and those kinds of decisions.
It specifically talked about the environment and how that was a problem that was more than kids could handle. I had never thought of it that way. I have done a bunch with my kids teaching them about the importance of taking care of the earth. I don’t harp on the fact that it might just blow up and be gone or they might run out of water in 20 years or anything, but that stuff is in there even if it isn’t specifically designed as a scare tactic. The environment is a huge problem, as an adult, I don’t know what to do about it. As a kid it is a way bigger issue than they can fix or process. For example, I love the ‘story of stuff’ movies, but watching the movies (especially the one about beauty products) has made my daughter toxin phobic. The world is full of all kinds of issues, and toxins are a big problem… but I don’t want my 7 year old to be loosing sleep over which shampoo she uses.
I have tried to educate my kids on the struggles that so many people have with not enough food and water because I want them to grow up to want to help. It has created very compassionate kids, Lily prays for the people who don’t have enough food every night. It is good that she wants to help, but it is a problem that she can’t solve or even wrap her mind around. It is a stressor.
I have always tried to tread lightly on the issue of physical health and appearance, but this is another stressor that kids pick up on that creates all kinds of lasting issues. I was grateful to learn that sleeping and eating were places of control that came out most often when kids were stressed and it wasn’t somehow an eating disorder.
This was a bubble show. Ian was the lucky one to get picked to go inside a bubble. He was so excited!
I sat there, with only the first few pages read staring in the face the mountain of well-meaning stress I had allowed my kids (specifically my daughter) to deal with in these last few years. I want my kids to grow up well-informed and globally responsible, but maybe my kids can’t handle that, maybe no kids can handle that…. sure would make sense, as an adult, I can’t handle it.
So, this week hubby and I have been trying very hard to remove these stressors from the kids view. It is hard not to talk about adult things (work, people, politics, money, etc) when the kids are awake, but creating a world where they don’t have to process or deal with any of it quite yet sounds wonderful.
He has such a focused look
Kids still need to be eased into all this stuff and I am not sure how to handle all that. Probably kids are very different. As an adult I can’t watch the news and read very little on global problems because I find it drains me. I know and care deeply about the problems and do what I can to live responsibly, I believe knowledge to that point is good (and everyone getting to that point may need different amounts of information). My kids could easily take after me and have a low threshold for handling this stuff before being overwhelmed. ….. so how to handle this I haven’t figured out. What I am going to try and do for now is take it out of their view and environment as much as I can at this age.
This past sunday the kids went to play at grandma’s for the day and Bryon and I wandered kid-less for a few hours downtown. These are some of the pictures he took.
I want to start off by saying that in no way am I saying that anyone needs to be more than a mom to be fulfilled. I am a stay-at-home mom. I am also not saying that being a mom isn’t super important to me. It is my biggest responsibility and my greatest job.
That being said, I am more than a mom.
Becoming a mom is the single largest identity change. Graduating from college, getting married, getting the corner office, none of these are close to the social change that comes from becoming a mother. (probably the biggest personal and physical change too)
I was someone before I had kids, and I will be someone after they leave home. I want my life and how I see myself as well as others and society to remember that identity.
I am not talking about doing, this isn’t a post about working or non-working mom’s, I am talking about who I am.
Sure the world is going to end, but convinced I need to trust God and enjoy life, only dealing with what can make a difference and not stressing about what I can’t change… or packing cans in the basement. … this isn’t a problem we can work out or plan for beyond staying close to Jesus.
Accepting of others but unsure how to culturally meet several
Live life in fast/happy or slow/sad swing
Don’t watch TV or movies much, I get too emotionally drained
Don’t watch or read the news (see #15)
Believe that most of life is what we create, how we respond and what glasses we choose to look through
Not near as strong or healthy as I wish I was, but determined to keep working on it
I don’t spell very whell
Have been in 7 countries and really hope to multiply that by 10 or so if I get the chance
Love my life
In love with my husband more than when we were married
Really this is a post about stereotypes (motherhood is just the big one I see everyday). It is hard with human nature to look beyond them. But, I am learning the joy of taking the time to look past the outside and obvious parts of a person and finding some of their true self. Often, even though the outside/obvious person doesn’t seem similar or have ‘friend potential’, the inside has pieces identical to mine.
That’s me. I am the one in the back row sitting on a real chair looking at a book ….. or possibly texting at the back of story time (or any number of kids activities). I watch the mothers sitting on the floor, bright-eyed, trying to get their kids to participate, following funny actions, and making baby talk with jealousy, guilt and amusement.
The truth is I am just not a kid person. I don’t like children. If reading this makes you think of evil witches, or serial killers you obviously ARE a kid person. Not everyone was made to be a kindergarten teacher.
I have been thinking on this for the past few days and am processing it. A few years ago I read a statistic that 1/3 of parents wouldn’t have had their kids if they could get a do over. I was, and still am, appalled by this. It is sad. I wanted kids and would still have my kids if given the choice again…. but now that I have them, I still don’t quite know what to do with them.
What I know for sure is that I want the best for them, and I want to be the best parent I can to them. In looking at my parenting style I probably parent with a business perspective (which is my degree… so it would make sense). I want to output the best product in the time given. I read books on the subject, stress over processes and schedules, second guess decisions and make changes at the last-minute. To be healthy human beings I work very hard at helping them be healthy and learn healthy habits. I want them to contribute to society and try to teach compassion and teamwork. I want them to learn as much as they can, learn how to teach them selves, and fall in love with a life time of learning. I want them to be self-controlled so that they can make the best decisions and not fall for fast, cheap substitutes. It isn’t that I want them to be good so I look good. I feel it is my responsibility as a parent and to God to raise them as ‘right’ as I am able.
This works great if I was going to do a math problem or program a computer. It might even work to train a dog. Kids are a whole other level of unexpected. They have no manual. I struggle because at the same ‘well of personality’ that I didn’t get my love for children or my special child-ready ’sing-song’ voice, I also somehow missed out on the patience. …. this would make me a special ed kindergarten teacher from……
I am aware that this makes me a poor choice for staying at home and homeschooling, but I really feel that it is best for my kids to be home growing up, and now to be homeschooled also. I feel it is best for all of us and that it offers us all a growing opportunity (though, sometimes I feel like I am breaking instead of growing)
I believe that I am made the way I am and am given my kids for a reason. I find and create all kinds of pressure with parenting. I stress over what makes a good parent?
being a kids best friend?
having a kid that obeys?
having a kid go to Harvard (or equivalent)?
having a healthy kid?
having a socially adjusted kid?
having a kid that makes the football team (or goes on to play music professionally)?
having a kid that ‘realizes their true dream’ (whatever that might be, how can that be measured?)?
having a kid that Loves the Lord?
The problem with the ‘business parenting model’ is that it is very unattached. I have always struggled with attachment. Sure, I love my kids, but I wish I really felt connected to them. I am scared that if I can’t connect with them as kids, then the teenage years will be impossible.
I have never been good with connecting. I don’t think many people are. Something to do with society and past hurts makes it easier. My wonderful husband has taught me how to connect in our marriage. We love spending time together and would rather be with each other than pretty much anything. I want the same thing with my kids now as well as after they grow up. I want our family to be tight and experience joy and loss as a unit. This is my ideal, but, I haven’t figured it out yet.
So, there is my confession. I am not a great parent, but I don’t think a love for children has to be a prerequisite. Don’t look down on me because I hate sitting on hard floors or doing silly actions, I am trying my best just like you are. Sometimes I wish I was as good as you interacting with my kids…. and sometimes I vow never to look that ridiculous.
This is a blog on simplicity, and it is my goal in life… but if you have read a few of my posts you know that I am far from figuring the concept out. With parenting also, I want to take the stress out and just enjoy it. But it isn’t like making a cake… if it falls or burns I can just start again, parenting is serious business.
Re-reading this post I think it sounds like a downer. I don’t mean it like that. I had a bad day last week with parenting and it was really stressing me out, but for the most part we really do have fun together learning. There is just those moments that smack me behind the head and leave me frantically searching for a book with answers… and there isn’t one
My kids drove me to the brink of craziness this afternoon. It is a sadly common occurance.
Spent a bunch of the day trying to organize and get the apartment cleaned before we leave on vacation to constant arguing, complaing, and questioning. As soon as I made my bed this morning my son was crawling under the covers. As soon as I would have the floor cleaned up in a room to vacuum there were toys back on it. They wanted to play computer games but they just constantly ask if it was ‘their turn’ yet. For lunch my daughter refused to eat any of the options I could come up with for her. Took them to the library where my son kept grabbing 10 books at a time and carrying them around. Things really got crazy when we had to go the the store for food for the weekend and they insisted on touching and running their hands along everything. Ian even ran his hands over some ladies backside in line at the check-out. … that makes for a great ice breaker.
Being the end of the week I wanted to make sure they were really tired out and would go to bed early so we went to the pool for a half an hour. Being that they are so attention starved and I have talked, listened, read, and bossed them around all day they insisted on both talking to me for a straight 20 minutes…. not taking turns… or not even stoping for breath, as far as I could tell. I was sitting at the side of the pool watching them, not reading, or talking on the phone or anything. I am super paranoid about water and even with life jackets in the shallow end of the pool, so I make sure I am watching close.
I: Mom can I show you something? (yes) Mom can I show you something? (yesss)
L: Mom did you see that? (huh?) Did you see what I just did? (yes, I am sitting here watching) Watch!
I: Mom your eyes are not on me. I need you to put your eyes on me? (I am)
L: Mom how long was I under water? Did you count? (um, no I was watching your brother)
I: Mom can I show you somethingggggggggg? (I am watching you )
L: Did you see what I just did? (yes) Do you know where I learned that? (no)
I: Mom can I show you something? (Ian, I am sitting here watching you!)
L: Did you see the bubbles? (yes) How long was I underwater? How many seconds? (I don’t know)
I: Mom! (What) Can I show you something?
L: Can you do a flip in the water? Like this?
I: Mom, can I show you something else? Mom?
….. I almost pulled them out of the pool for driving me crazy.
Now they are finally asleep. I have been able to pick up the food off the floor, wet swim suits left in my bathroom, new princess shoes (that I have stepped on at least twice today), cloths, blankets, and books all over again.
So through this I have been thinking a bunch about ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ by Mitch Albom that I have read over the last few days. It is a short, deep, and quite dark book. Made me cry good at the library this afternoon as I finished it (behind the mountain of books Ian had made). Really, I think I prefer books that have much more happy in them and take more breaks. This one was intense the whole way through, leaving me feeling a bit beat up.
What stuck with me the most was the second person. I read through this section as my kids are in the dentists chair yesterday and it has stuck with me. The second person was teaching teaching the main character about sacrifice. He said:
“Sacrifice,” The captain said. “You made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost.
“You didn’t get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. ….
I really liked the second part. It is supposed to be, not something to regret, but to aspire to.
I do see my staying home with my kids as a sacrifice. I feel I have given up a lot to both stay home with them and help my husband run his business. I don’t and haven’t every regretted it but also haven’t seen it as something to aspire too. Honestly, this afternoon all I could dream about was quiet. Now, finally, the house is quiet and I can sit with my thoughts. It is times like these that I can think, organize my thoughts and feelings, breath out and really appreciate my life and my choices. What is so hard is taking that clarity through the day. It can be in my head but my actions and tone are often don’t show how happy I am. It is frusterating, and streching and probably what life is all about. I know my kids have helped me grow into a better person, I just hope that I can grow to be that better person before they are grown up and gone.
Sacrifices is not something to regret (or just put up with), but something to aspire to.
I don’t read articles I find on the internet from start to finish very often. I usually only skim the first few paragraphs and look for lists. Today I found one that had me for all 5 pages. ‘Why Don’t I Like My Own Child?” (http://lifestyle.msn.com/your-life/family-parenting/article.aspx?cp-documentid=28895290>1=32060). In it the mother talks about the difficultly bonding with her child and the disappointment she felt with her. I have had trouble bonding with my daughter as well. Just to make things clear I believe 1)All children deserve to be loved 2)not all children are as lovable or easy to love. This is something I have been working with/struggling with/stressing about.
What struck me about this article was the ‘shocking honesty’. I am both proud of her ability to come out and be honest about her feelings to herself and others (under a different name so her daughter is protected), and saddened that honesty like that is so rare and shocking. People don’t get trained or pass a test to be parents. It is hard to learn as you go. Every kid is different and none of them perfectly match a parenting book. Why is it so hard for parents, myself included, to admit that? It is another form of perfectionism that we are taught to act.
It was interesting reading the comments at the bottom of the post and the different ways people responded to it. There were several showing up every minute when I read the article this morning and they were filled with strong emotions. They ranged from people telling her she was a terrible mother all the way to people recalling their painful childhoods.
As a society I feel we have to have places and people we can talk to where we can shed the masks, the perfect fronts and simplify to honesty. Closets and houses full of stuff can be overwhelming, but holding up the person I feel I am expected to be all the time can be even worse.
I respect this mother. It is only when she (or I) can be honest with herself about where her parenting is at and admit there is problems that she can do something about it.
Parenting is huge to me. I stress about it a lot. My first priority needs to be my relationship with God, but my second is to my family and my kids (taking care of myself is necessary for both of these relationships). I am glad I have made the choice to spend more time with my kids, but I still screw up all the time and feel terrible about it. I stress and stay awake at night trying to figure it out. Parenting is not easy, especially when each kid and each parent is so different. The crazy thing is that with parenting you don’t know if you have been successful until much later… or to late. So my perfectionist, over thinking personality spends lots of time on this issue.
I have read part of Parenting with Love and Logic before but wanted to go through it in it’s entirety. I got the book on tape and was able to listen to it while I was in the car for over 7 hours yesterday. There was a lot, especially at the beginning I really enjoyed, but as the book went on I discovered 2 major themes in their theory that I, in my parenting, am working very hard against.
I think their stuff is good verbal manipulation for co-habiting with children until they can be sent off on their own. This, to me, isn’t parenting. Some days the focus is only on survival, but there is so much more I believe parenting can be. The 2 things that bug me are:
1. Choice: I feel I have been given my kids so that I can train them. I believe they should have some choices but this theory seems go to far on this. It isn’t a control freak to say that I am the parent, and I know what is best. I read ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom’ of few months ago. I don’t agree with everything in the book, (I don’t know if the author would have done things the same way the second time, it isn’t a parenting book, but an honest diary of their journey) but I am much closer to this lady’s philosophy than ‘love and logic’.
For example, it says for homework you can require your child to sit at the table with their books for 2 hours but you can’t make them study, that is their choice. That isn’t the way it works at our house, you sit at the table with your books till your done and it is done right. It is far easier for a parent to just control location but kids don’t know how to choose what is right all the time. Sometime they need the tough love that takes time and energy from the parents to make the right choice.
Living civil with others, learning/schooling what they are able, as well as taking care of their body, things and space is not something that is up for discussion. I don’t use fancy words to try and convince my kids to make the right choice I tell them what the right choice is and let them get used to making it as they grow up. Kids used to not fighting, studying hard, showering and living in a clean room will have the habit and will be uncomfortable in a different setting later. My theory. I don’t think a parent needs (or should) control every action of their kids but parents are the ones to set the standards. For example: where they want to keep things in their room, shower or bath, study in room or dinning room. My kids won’t have the option below the standards that are set. Love and logic says it is the kids problem if they get bad grades or don’t get along with others. I disagree, I am still the parent, it is still my problem. Not to solve myself, but to teach my child how to solve and insure they follow through and do.
2. Problem ownership: The love and logic theory is big on making the child’s problem belong to the child. Touched on a bit in the previous paragraph I would add that I think this hurts the family unit and is unbiblical. God created the family unit as well as the church unit/body. Apart from the obvious differences (mostly noted above) between parenting children and being a church member I think they are quite similar, we were made to need each other. ‘No man is an island’ is something everyone realizes no matter what their background. The family unit has enough trying to tear it apart. What is wrong with needing and depending on each other? The bible says about the church in 1 Cor 12 that it is a unit, functioning together and needing each other. Specifically in 1Cor 12:26 it says that if one member suffers, all the members suffer.
Love and logic says that we need to give our kids problems back to them to figure out. Childhood, teenage years, adulthood, just live in general is hard, we all screw up and we all need each other. It seems some people are so terrified their kids are going to be deadbeats living in their basement at 35 playing video games that they separate themselves from them and make sure there are these strong lines dividing ‘my problems’ and ‘your problems’.
Never should a kid just have everything fixed for them but what if the family worked together through all the problems. The argument with ‘Love and Logic’ is the important learning experience for teaching responsibility. Do these same parents want their kids to say “Sorry Mom and/or Dad, sucks to be retired with tones of medical expenses and not enough money. I sure don’t like it when I run out of money. Let me know how it turns out.”
I am also reading ‘The New Good Life’ and, though it isn’t a parenting book, their family dynamics jumped out at me. The author and his wife have lived on practically nothing all their lives and when their twin grandkids were born with lots of complications that had lasting effects they fully planned to use their money to help their kids raise their grandkids. They were living together to share the work of the kids. Then when all the money was stolen all 4 adults pulled together and did all they could to save the house and take care of the kids. I want my family to be like this. I want my family to be a team from now until… forever. I have friends with families like this. Parents and grown kids who are close and do everything they can to help each other. No one trying to take advantage and no one afraid they are being taken advantage of. ‘When one member suffers all the members suffer with it’ Problems in the family belong to the whole family, not just the kids (like ‘Love and Logic’) and not just the parents (like a controlling, enabling parent)
Like I said, there was lots of parts that I agreed with and lots of stuff I liked, but these two underlying themes I think are both issues that are contributing to the problems with our society. High expectations and a tight family team would make such a difference for the better.
We have been ‘on the road’ working now for over a month. It has given me a rest, time to think and read, more time to work with my kids and their schooling. Appart from us all getting a bit sick it has been a really nice time. In a few days we will be returning home for a few weeks before going ‘out on the road’ again. We have learned that we really don’t need almost all of our stuff. That stuff causes stress and work. We plan on working on downsizing stuff and hopefully living space in our few weeks at home. There are things I would rather spend my money on and things that would be more worthy of my money than a big house and lots of stuff to clean up.
Today I finished reading two books. The first was ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ and the second was ‘Crazy Love’. I really enjoyed both books. I really felt drawn and impressed to read both of them and have been thinking about Love and Parenting. Really Gods love for us and our parenting should be similar (if we have an accurate picture of God and he is working through us as parents).
The idea that you can love or be loved just for being is much easier to understand after having kids. God loves me and I need to love my kids no matter what they have done, what they do, what they will become or anothing else. God loves, teaches me to love and saves me by grace.
On top of that, when you read the bible. He is a crazy, strict, jealous, parent. This isn’t probably a popluar opinion but when you read the bible it is very clear that he demands worship, obedience, and control of our lives. I struggle a lot with my parenting on strictness. In reading through this I have discovered a much deeper love. A love that refuses give up on me or to let me give up on myself. It is a love that takes all the time it needs to teach a point, make a point, or develop character. Punishment, rebuke, consequences are all over the Bible. It is a love the believes that I can be much more than I think, or sometimes even want to be. It is a love that gives and turns me into ‘much more than I could ask or imagin’. It is a love that is ok with being seen as the ‘bad guy’ when it knows what is best for us. It is a deeply emotional love on both sides. God is anything but indifferent (which, instead of hate is really the opposite of love) to our lives or what we will become. He is involved and shaping every step because he really does know what is best for us.
I still have lots of thinking on this in its application on both the spiritual and parenting side. I was just struck and wowed that God would love me enough to go through all the work, not only of dying for me but continuing to work with me as I learn.