Monday, April 20, 2009

Gathering At the Well


Today's At the Well topic is about parenting. Sowing and Reaping in parenting. There is also an encouragement to share an anecdote or example of whole-hearted parenting.

I love reading and learning about Christian parenting. Mainly because you can never get enough help as a parent! Knowledge is abundant, but wisdom is essential. It has been said that "wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge." The trick about parenting is that you learn as you go, you learn what does not work, from mistakes. Then, when you think you are headed in the right direction, a new child comes and everything that you figured out from the first child, does not work on the next child! Then you start over.

Parenting is truly a challenge. We have entered a new phase as parents as we have two teenagers. There is a whole new set of challenges, rules, opportunities to let them grow and freedom for them to begin making their own choices. I struggle greatly with this new phase. Many times I am not "liked" by my teenagers. They accuse me of sheltering them, treating them like babies, enforcing rules that "no one else" has to live by. They have different attitudes and they strive for independence. They look to their peers for approval and how they look and if they are perceived as "cool" be their friends is very important to them. But this is a normal phase of life for them. It will not last forever.

I have learned that through this phase, I can demand obedience and refuse privileges if they don't do the things I think they need to, or I can extend grace. By demanding things my way, they will obey - physically, but their heart will not be in it. The goal right now is to instill in them a heart of integrity - to do the right things because they are the right things to do. For them to have a respect for God and for others. They are making their way in life toward young adults, wisdom is gained through experience. Sowing and reaping is a heart lesson. Actions and consequence cannot be taught through words, but through experience. A Bible verse I like to reflect on is found in Ephesians 6:4 "...do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." They need unconditional love along with guidance and training.

Whole hearted parenting is to give of yourself completely. Teaching and learning/sowing and reaping takes place all the time. Not just when we as parents want them to pay attention. Children notice the good and the bad. The most important thing is to be a good example. Psalms 101:2 is a great reminder: "I will behave wisely in a perfect way... I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." In our homes is where we are the real us. Where our good, bad and ugly comes out! But our homes are also a place for love and grace. A place where we will mess up and others will mess up. Where tempers will flare, unkind words will be spoken, but God's grace, love and forgiveness can be extended. A place where each one can be free to be themselves and where God's unconditional love rules and can be shared and received. Is there any lesson more important than that? God loves us just as we are and His love can make the changes that need to be made. Our homes can be the place where the greatest commandments are in place: Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

While I don't' have an example to share of whole hearted parenting, I can only say that it is a work in progress for me. I receive the role of parent as a direct calling from God and strive to do my best at it. Thank God for His unlimited wisdom and strength that He freely gives.

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”

4 comments:

  1. Instilling integrity is a lifelong process in raising children. I loved reading the commandment from John that runs through your childrearing. Extending lots of grace and discipline are definitely key in wholehearted parenting, aren't they? Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Parenting really does change after puberty doesn't it! It's a different ballgame! I can relate.

    Blessings and prayers your way!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved your post on parenting. Discipline is definetly a big thing, not always welcomed from our children - but as I learn from each stage my kids go thru - the discipline is the one thing they come back and "thank us" for when they are older. (I have 3 that have reached this stage ... yes you read that right .. they come back and THANK US!) Don't you just love it! Parenting is a life long learning process don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this blog post! I just posted a blog about how I was learning to be content where I am planted right now!!We have 5 teens left at home here out of 7 total. Our 2 oldest girls have moved out on their own now that they are adults and I have got to say, each day is a challenge. But I am so glad that I was trusted by God to step up to it!
    I do struggle sometimes with how to handle things the right way, but I am sooooooo grateful for God's grace that makes up for where I falter!!
    I like your blog page, by the way! I am learning how to do all this decorating it up stuff and all!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing your commment. It is a joy and blessing to hear from you and your words are appreciated.