Friday, February 20, 2015
Priority #3: My Children: What's my System?
When we were first married, Friend Hubby and I were involved in a car accident where a 5-year, son of an independent Baptist minister, had run across the street without looking. Friend Hubby saw him out of the corner of his eye and had already braked and gone into a skid by the time our car struck him. His little mind, however, was so intent on getting across the street that even after he rolled off the hood of our car, he still got back up and continued running until his father was able to tackle him in their front yard just to stop him from running.
Later in the week, we went back to visit with the family to see that the boy was okay because we were getting ready to get on a plane to the Azores, Portugal. During our visit, although we had only been married a few weeks, the minister gave us some books about child rearing. I read some of it on the long plane ride to what was to be our home for the first 3 years of our marriage. I can't remember now what it was called, but it was based on Susanna Wesley's 16 Rules. It was two and a half years later before we became parents, but the ideals of that book stuck with us and we employed many of the rules once Dancing Angel was born and for every child born after.
Over the years, especially after we began homeschooling, we were exposed to many other child rearing systems and methods. There were nursing methods, sleeping methods, potty training methods, teaching methods, reading methods, math methods, history methods, church methods, relationship methods, ad nauseum. Exposure to each new system felt like we had discovered the cure for cancer. Eureka! This is IT! THIS must be the magic formula that if I enter my children into THIS system, they will absolutely without fail grow up to be the woman or man of my dreams/imagination/idol. We even judge other parents based on their the system they choose. "She's STILL nursing that child?" "Her son's not reading YET?"
In the months leading up to the Grand Duchess starting high school at home, it seemed like every former homeschooler I met had a testimony to share with me of how they had homeschooled their children and when they came of age, they turned their backs on God and became godless heathens. What in the world??? Fear tried to creep in. Second guessing kicked in. Have we done the right thing? Should we be more strict? Should we be more liberal? What a quandary!
My sister posted this status on her Facebook page the other day and I don't think she realized how profound it was, "You know your days of sanity are numbered when your daughter is about 4 feet from the spot you originally placed her on the floor." Yep, that's what it's like parenting by a "system." You put your child in the system's spot or box and when you turn your back for a second, they have either crawled out of the box, broken down the walls of the box, or are lying limply in the bottom of the box because they are so miserable because it's not the right box for them.
After much soul searching, I came into THIS method of child rearing. Every morning when I pray for my family and each child individually, I would make this confession: FATHER, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING. I am clueless. I don't know how to be the mother I need to be so that my children will become the men and women You want them to be. I have searched and searched and have not found the magic formula for entering my kids into a system and having them come out a certain way. I can't transform into the mother that my feelings tell me I should be. I can't transform into all the mommy bloggers on Pinterest who must have it all together. Not only that, but I can't fit into a system myself because the mother I need to be to the Grand Duchess is not the mother that I need to be to Boy Wonder. The mother I need to be to Boy Wonder is not the mother I need to be to Princess Butterfly. Paul said, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." (1 Corinthians 9:22b). I must become different mothers to each of my different children. For Dancing Angel, I became a choreographer. For the Grand Duchess, I became a student of history. For Boy Wonder, I became a cheerleader. For Princess Butterfly, I am metamorphosing into a businesswoman.
James 2:17 NKJV says, "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." I think one of the greatest acts of faith is child rearing.
Hebrews 11:8 reads, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." In Donalacasa's translation, the verse reads: "By faith Friend Hubby and Donalacasa, when they were called to be parents, through which they would receive an inheritance (as children are an heritage of Yehovah: and the fruit of the womb is His reward ~ Psalm 127:3), they parented, not knowing what they were doing."
But we don't lose heart along the way because 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us, "For all the promises of Yehovah in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of Yehovah through us." We are also told, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
Ladies, let us parent in faith, not with our faith in a system, but with our faith solely in the Almighty. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Yehovah must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
That's my system.
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