Friday, January 25, 2008

A few thoughts for Friday...

This blog isn't writing related, though it does involve someone else's writing, if that counts =)

My bud Matt on Facebook found this blog post today and told me to check it out. I advise you to do the same, then read the rest of my post and give your own opinions/comments at the end.

This guy has some really great blogs from time to time! I visit his site often. One of my favorite quotes from this particular post of his is "That's one problem with helping people grow up: You have to be a grown-up."

Love that!! Kudos to this guy. I agree 100% - Sadly, it seems parents (even Christian parents! gasp!) are more afraid now-a-days of their kid being considered "weird" then they are about their spiritual, mental and emotional well-being. I hear this all over the place, even from friends my own age who aren't yet having children. I have acquaintance-type friends who are very active in their church yet see no problem drinking heavily, going to bars, cussing, and generally acting like the rest of the world. Different = weird in their minds, and sadly this mindset is taking over a number of generations. Even adults my parents age and older, who I always looked up to in the church, have been known to frequent bars, nightclubs, etc. It blows my mind. The parents are wanting to seem "cool" so they act younger, the kids are wanting to seem "cool" so they act older...where is the middle ground? Where is normal, anyway? Its so relative!

This topic has always been such a soapbox for me and now that I'm pregnant, I have a feeling it will only become more so...

For example, I'm considering homeschooling my kids. Some people look at me like I have 6 ears when I say that, but hey, I homeschooled off and on growing up and was very involved with my church youth group, had plenty of social interaction and best friends - and I don't think I'm "weird". Different, yes - I actually have morals that I cling to, even as an adult, and not a single day goes by that I'm not appreciative of the sacrifice my parents made so I could do just that. Sacrifices they made that contribute to who I am today. You know what? I actually like me =)

I'm sure there are sacrifices I'll have to make as a new mom, as well - such as avoiding TV shows that might be offensive to a small child, being more careful with my words when Hubby & I disagree (and I'm not talking cuss words, but harsh language in general! Soooo not good for kids to hear between their parents, and on this I will not be swayed!), not giving in to my child's requests/demands just to keep the peace, etc. (like with movies or books he/she's just not ready for).

I love the pacing this guy's blog mentioned. Shelter your kids - but not forever. Bring them into the world slowly. Teach them as you go. There is no reason to rush them through - let them be kids for awhile!! They grow up fast enough already. Has anyone else realized that kids are developing physically faster now than they were 25 years ago? Check out yearbook pages and compare. Seriously, it blows your mind. 5th graders can easily look 13. 13 year olds can easily look 16. What happened? They grew up too fast because no one was pacing them.

For example - don't hand them a beer when they're seven because you think that's better than letting them discover alcohol on their own later and abuse it! I actually know men who say they want to drink a beer with their kid for the first time on the front porch so the lure of the "forbidden" won't be there for the child later....!!! Is that really a good alternative? Whatever happened to simply sitting down and TALKING about alcohol (or drugs or sex or whatever else) and having discussions about the pros and cons of getting involved in such a vice? Many parents today seem to be afraid or embarassed of these topics to address them. I'm sure it can't be easy to do, but is it worth it? To me, 100 times yes!

I realize I am not an actual mother yet (won't be 'til July when this little one makes its debut appearance) and some of you might think "sure, it's easy for her to talk this way, but wait until the pressure is on. She'll cave like the rest of us, and her kid will be just like everyone else".

Maybe so. Maybe I will get tired of being the "bad guy" at times and holding my child to my convictions. Maybe homeschooling won't work out, maybe we won't be able to afford it or maybe I won't have the patience or time. Maybe raising my child in the church will make them resent the house of God later. Maybe keeping the peace will become more important than my child's emotional and mental and spiritual development. Maybe I'll lose my temper and blow up and be a horrible example to my children.

But you know what? Maybe not. And I'm trusting God to make up that difference.


Erica Vetsch said...

You are wise to consider these things now, rather than be working on the fly when your child is 9 or 10.

Don't bow to convention. Let your kids be kids, make sure your kids know that their siblings are their best friends, and have a lot of fun!

Georgiana said...

You are too a mother!! Are you not already protecting your child and doing what's right for him/her? Yes, you are! That said, I think this is sooo important. It bugs me when parents are trying to be just friends with their kids. God doesn't call us to be our kids best friend, although the friendship can come as the child grows into an adult.

Rebecca Yauger said...

There are definitely some good insights to what you and Brant say about parenting. I will tell you that despite everything you think, parenting is a whole different game when you actually become a parent! Wow! But, as a parent, it is your responsibility to make tough decisions. You are the PARENT, not your kids best friend!!
You are in charge and you do need to create boundaries and guidelines for your children, whether they like it or not. Some days you may cave-in, but that's OK. Most days you will not. Remeber you are human, too. And you have God with you to guide you and guide your children. Remember, that your children aren't really yours -- God has given them to you and entrusts them to you as they grow. If you hang on to this philosophy, it's a little bit easier to let them go off to college! God entrusts you with these wonderful special people to love and to raise in His faithfulness. You'll do a great job, Bets! You have such wonderful examples in your own parents.

Linda said...

Hi Betsy,

I read your blog via Erica's page and I really enjoy it.

I just want to say Amen! to your post today. This is a topic near and dear to my heart also. I see so many kids who need a grownup in their lives to care about and guide them since the parents are not filling this role for them. It's way more than being around for the fun stuff. It's being there every day showing them how to love God and live.

You may not have a baby in your arms yet, but you will soon enough, and things probably will be somewhat different than you imagined. You are doing a good thing for your family to be thinking about these things now.

God's blessings to you and your family.

Rachel said...

You go, girl! Homeschooling is totally the way to go. :D Yeah, I'm biased....

I am very proud of the fact that I'm different. God made me this way, so why shouldn't I be proud of it? He's called us to be separate and apart from the world, held to a high standard. Considering what He did for us, I don't think that's too much to ask of us.

See you tomorrow!

Lori said...

I second Georgiana's comment: you are too a parent!!! :)

I love your comments and KS's. What I try to remind myself when trying to do this incredibly hard parenting thing is:

a) kids are sooooo smart. They see past our words and our rules (or lack of them). They can spot a hypocrite from a mile away. Honestly, I don't think it's God's law that turns kids off of following Him, but the church's and often parent's hypocrisy in calling our children to holiness when we are not willing to confront sin in our own lives. I want my kids to see me walking with the Lord, I want them to see me struggle and through Christ to overcome. I want them to see me humble myself and ask forgiveness when I fall, and I want them to see me take active steps to love God with all my heart and hate sin because it hurts my Lord. In my mind, the most important thing (and possibly the most difficult) is to walk a consistent walk before my kids, so that they may learn to fall in love with Jesus by example. :)

b) my obedience to God in how I raise my kids has to be based on my trust for Him, not on the results, and not on fashion. If He's said it, I should do it, right? Even if it seems like the correction of my three-year-old is never ending, even if I'm ready to throw in the towel, even if I entertain the thought in my mind, "This just isn't working." Isn't God's Word for my good and His glory? Do I believe He is infinitely wise? Do I trust Him with the results? Am I willing to walk by faith and not by sight?

As a human-- sometimes strong, too often weak-- I cling to Him! He is always faithful. His strength is perfected in weakness.

So keep on trusting God, chickey! He's got it all under control. :)

Delia said...

Absolutely! I agree 100%! (although I don't homeschool my kiddos anymore, I think it's a wonderful thing) And I wholeheartedly agree with the point that children should be sheltered and SLOWLY being introduced to "worldly" things.