Archive for June, 2017

Parenting: The Calling (Ch. 2)

Posted on June 14, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I am currently reading Paul David Tripp’s book called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family.  It is from a Christian perspective, and though not everyone will agree with all of the advice, here are some of the things I’ve learned from the chapter.

Chapter summary: This chapter was about how parents have an extremely high calling. The chapter begins with this quote:

Principle: Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul.

This chapter was pretty sobering in its reminder of how important parenting is. It started off by walking us through the stages of a child through little scenarios.

  1. The two year old won’t eat his peas.
  2. The Kindergarten teacher is sending home notes because your kid won’t stop talking.
  3. Your children are misbehaving and making the day extremely difficult to get through.
  4. You’ve just had one of the best conversations with your eleven year old… EVER.
  5. Your pre-teen is embarrassed by you and doesn’t want to be seen with you.
  6. You take your family to a movie, and the fun family comedy has way too many sexual innuendos that you will need to talk about with your kids later.
  7. Your kid moves away to college and doesn’t need your help anymore.
  8. Your child moves home from college while she is looking for a job. You have to find the balance of parenting an adult.
  9. You’re haunted by regret. (This is where I got emotional.) You remember the little promises you didn’t keep, or all the moments of failure.

Tripp points out that all of those little scenarios have one thing in common: they are all about a calling as a parent. He breaks down our calling into two categories: 1) Parents are treasure hunters, and parents are valued spiritually.

His first point about being a treasure hunter is that our choices and decisions are all reflections of our core values. Many things compete for our attention and to be on the “throne” of our hearts; possessions, recreational activities, people, etc. We often get overwhelmed with them and they hold too big of a spot in our life.

“Parents who are too controlled by possessions (houses, cars, lawns, furniture, artwork etc.) tend to be so busy acquiring, maintaining, financing, and protecting their possessions that they have way too little time to invest in their children in the way God intended. Or parents who love possessions too much tend to be so uptight about protecting their possessions that they unwittingly turn their home into an uncomfortable furniture and craft museum that their children are taxed to live in” (Tripp, 2016, p. 26).

Tripp challenges his readers to humbly look at their own lives and identify any areas that might compete with the value of parenting. What gets in the way of giving parenting the importance and value it deserves?

The second point explains how our high calling as parents is about getting to be “a principal, consistent, and faithful tool in his hands for the purpose of creating God-consciousness and God-submission in your children” (p. 30).  Parents get the amazing job of helping their children understand spirituality and pointing them to Jesus.

My take aways– After reading those initial scenarios, I thought to myself, “thank goodness my actual parenting hasn’t started yet.” But when I thought more about it, I realized that it has. I believe that my every day choices are reflective of what my parenting will be like in the future. If parents are truly treasure hunters, then what I value today definitely has consequences on what things I will value down the road.

Photo 2017-05-23, 12 40 28 PMThe ‘regret’ scenario really struck a chord with me.  I don’t want to make it all the way through my life and then look back and wish I had spent more time savouring the little moments. When Adelyn was first born, many people told me to cherish the time because they grow up way too fast. Cliche, I know… but I have actually tried to take that advice to heart. Jim and Pam were given this advice for their wedding, and I have been trying to do the same thing with Adelyn.  I am trying to live in/cherish the moments we are in. As much as possible, I am trying to be present when I am with her.

It has been really interesting entering into this journey of parenting.  When people ask Photo 2017-05-12, 10 16 46 AMme what it’s like to be home with Adelyn, I have a hard time explaining how much I am enjoying it. You see, I am one of those people who has always been GO GO GO. I have been extremely busy and seemingly involved in everything. Being home with Adelyn has caused me to slow right down.  And let me tell you, there is beauty in the rest. I have really enjoyed this slow pace and spending time with my daughter. We work around her schedule and I’m at home A LOT. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I am.

 

It also makes me happy/excited for my choice to go half time next year.  I know this IMG_2564choice isn’t for everyone. Some would rather be home full time, some would rather go back to work full time… but I’m going to be half time, and I think it was the right choice for me. I am learning that my family needs to come first before my job; I need to practice
making my husband and daughter a priority as I LOVE teaching, and I know it can easily creep in as a higher priority if I let it.

Some people may wonder why incorporating a spiritual worldview while parenting is important. Tripp does a great job of explaining why our role as parents is to help our children see the Creator.

“Your children have the perverse and life-shaping ability to look at the world around them and not see God. They will consistently see the signs (the created world), but they will consistently fail to see what the signs point to (the existence and glory of God). And if you don’t acknowledge God… you will then insert yourself in the middle of your world and make it all about you” (p. 30)

When we make this life about us, we end up living for the unsatisfying flavours of the week. We keep filling our lives with things that we think will make us happy. Often times these things can be good like family, work, career, aspirations, love etc. But they never fully satisfy us. When we shape our worlds around ourselves we end up always needing more because nothing human/earthly can meet these deep needs.  I believe that it is only a spiritual relationship with the Creator that can give us ultimate purpose and joy. When we have that, we can rest and live in a state of gratefulness/contentedness because it is not affected by our shifting circumstances.

What I want for Adelyn is for her to have a steady rock to hold to. I will try my best to teach her to have a spiritual awareness that will outlast her day to day troubles.

Just for fun:

Parenting fail #4- There have been three times when I’ve got home and realized that I forgot to do up Adelyn’s seatbelt in the car. Oops…

Photo 2016-12-02, 10 01 11 AM

Parenting fail #5- I accidentally took her to her six month check up appointment when she was only five months.  I didn’t tell the doctor/nurses when I realized three minutes in. I just smiled and nodded at all the milestones. Thank goodness she is a big baby. She came out as 97th percentile for six months!

 

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