My blog is being scraped again. If you are reading this on a website other than www.crazyhomedaze.blogspot.com you are reading a stolen copy of my content.
I am reading a book that I am supposed to review (and I will soon) but it has me thinking about my parenting skills and style. It's not a book that you would think of as a parenting book at first glance but there are some gems of truth in it that make it worth the read. The book is First Things First by Kurt and Brenda Warner. Yes, you read that right it is written by the football quarterback!
First Things First is a great look into the lives of this family and their faith. It is also a look into their parenting and family style. We each have a style to our parenting and families, it is just part of who we are. The question is do we understand those styles and work with them or fight them? God created each of us in a unique way to relate to one another in unique ways; becoming a parent doesn't change that. In fact, I think it makes that uniqueness more apparent.
When we approaching parenting our children we bring our own set of baggage with us; for the good or bad. Each set of baggage can be used by God to shape, mold, and transform us and our children if we will let them Master Potter have control. Not just ultimate control of the final outcome but control over the day to day things that we tend to overlook in our effort to effect the big picture of their lives.
Such as the big picture dictates that they be independent when they are older. However, how many of us parents are still insisting on doing too many things for our growing children? Sometimes the excuse we use is that it is just quicker to do it ourselves, other times we insist that they wouldn't do it right so we just do it for them. Is that really helping them become independent? I would venture a resounding No! Children need to be given as much independence as their age and maturity allows; not what we allow them to have based on what is convenient for us.
One example is their clothing. Now, don't get me wrong you will never find me allowing my kids to dress immodestly just to give them their independence. That is not what I am talking about. But, I will and have always let them dress themselves as soon as they were able. Even if the clothes didn't match. It has never been a desire of mine to control what they wear just to have them look a certain way. I would rather they dress themselves so that I had one less thing to do in a given day! In the book First Things First, there is a section I want to show you. It resounded deeply with me and with parents I have known.
Brenda says this:
"Some mothers think it's important that every little thing match. They put their child into a frilly little outfit with socks and shes and a matching bow. Who Cares? Does anyone really think that child dressed herself? No. One look at the child, and you know it's all about the mom."
Now, I know that not every mom that dresses her child long after they are capable of doing it for themselves is this way, but I do have to wonder why they are doing it. Often times those are the same moms that complain about not having enough time to get things done.
I would tell those same parents to give up some of the tasks to the children so that they will gain more independence and make mistakes while they are at home with the safety net of the their family to support them. After all, we are not raising children but adults. Right? No one wants grown children running around driving cars and going to work, we want adults that have been given the opportunity to gain knowledge and independence while they were young so that as adults they are responsible and mature. Our job as parents are to recognize the God given personalities, talents, traits, and desires in our children and then to guide them on the path to using them for God's glory.
Hopefully by the time my daughters are ready to leave my nest they will know everything they need to know to run a household. (the basics of course. some things can only be learned through time and experience!) They should be able to do the day to day tasks to care for themselves with minimal help from anyone else. I would also hope that they would be wise enough to look at a situation and discern what needs done with Godly wisdom and strength.
Teaching them to rely and trust God should go hand in hand with teaching them independence. Just as they can't expect us to do things for them when they are adults, they can't rely on our faith when they are grown. They need to develop and relationship with Christ that is independent from our own. Our faith in Christ isn't enough to save our children, they have to a faith that is all their own brought on by their own experiences with Him. That is brought by independence!
There's that word again, INDEPENDENCE!! It seems kind of important, doesn't it? So many things in life are tied to it and dependent upon it. Seems kind of silly that a word like independence has things in our lives that are dependent on us having it, doesn't? But it is true none the less.
Let your children dress themselves even if they want polka dots with stripes. Let them put on mis-matched socks and shoes and rejoice at the accomplishment they feel having done it for themselves. Rejoice in the fact that it is one less thing to have to do in the day.
Parenting is a journey that moves all too quickly. Let us not hold on too long in ways we shouldn't and hold on longer in ways we should.