Oh, Parenting.

A few weeks ago, I posted a question on Facebook, and a couple handfuls of people answered in response with some really good stuff.

I posed the question, “What about your child or children makes you the most proud?”

Don’t scroll down yet; but the answers you’ll see at the bottom of this blog actually vary quite a bit. Some pinpoint leadership, some focus on kindness, others work ethic, as well as how their kids treat others.

I was inspired to write this after much contemplation over our roles are parents in today’s society. Throughout history, parents have felt the pressure of raising their kids right, operating their home and family life well, and somehow managing to remain sane throughout their existence as a parent (which is often for the rest of their life).

I started my parenting journey without any clue of what I was doing. Plus I dragged my husband right along with me! Poor soul. 🙂 Not only was my pregnancy and delivery quite an adventure, but the years to follow were as well. I continually felt the pressures and comparisons of other moms. I always felt like the inadequate one, the uneducated one (in regard to parenting), and the lonely one. Everything I did seemed wrong. From nursing on a schedule, to the way my kid acted around other kids. And I felt I had no support.

Six years later, gazing back on those first few years, it’s a wonder I didn’t actually go chemically insane. Because now, I don’t really bother addressing the feelings of comparison. I notice when others make different decisions than I do, but I’m not judging which decision is better. (of course, we all have our moments, right?!)

Because you see, each one of our kids is entirely different. And so are we.

From the way they walk, to the words they speak, to the matters of the heart, our kids are all unique. They have their own fingerprints even.

Our parenting styles are just that. We make choices based on how our parents raised us. We make choices based on our own past mistakes. We choose to schedule or not schedule, homeschool or public or private school, cut their hair short or long, feed them GMO’s or grass-fed all-natural organic, spank or not… all because we are unique in who we are, and because our kids are unique as well. We are a complete mash-up of past experiences and mistakes, and current influences. Each combination unique in itself!

I’m sure you parents of older kids have learned this point years ago, but for us younger moms, it is quite a rollercoaster of an adventure that we are on right now. When others so adamantly and surely voice their perspective and opinion, it’s a personal jab when it concerns our kids.

I know, because I made the really lame mistake once of asking a friend, “Do you JUST stay home with the kids?” What I meant, was “Do you spend your entire life, 24/7, managing your kids, your house, your husband, all with the majestic, artistic graces of a stay-at-home-mom?” But what she heard was “You must be a lazy stay-at-home-mom that drinks coffee and shops online all the time.” Obviously a very different outcome than I anticipated. Especially since I was jealous that she didn’t have to manage a job outside of the home out of financial necessity. I’m just glad I apologized and confessed that the way I asked that question was just stupid. 🙂

So, when you read the questions below, pretend you are the person saying it. Where does he or she come from? What has influenced her life? How did his parents give him consequences? Because I promise you, we are all each so different in our parenting and how we make parenting decisions, that we just can’t compare our answer in any sort of systematic way.

Maybe reading these answers will also help each of us in future conversations with other parents too. Perhaps approaching subjects humbly and with an open mind might be a good idea?! 😉

What about your child or children makes you proud?

-their incredible ability to show sacrifice and unconditional love to each other (siblings)

-his sensitivity and compassion.

-the maturity and confidence with which he carries himself

-does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with The Lord

-is bursting with life and love and notices and responds when others need a little bit of her over-abundance

-my kids have an amazing work ethic when it comes to physical fitness

-amazing with little children

-how much he loves to worship!

-when she is kind and respectful

-when he talks about Jesus

-my children’s ability to take small insignificant moments to make a connection and show genuine kindness and compassion to others.

-when my children are kind and giving to others

-her creativity, energy, sense of humor, intelligence, talent, all coming together as wife, mom, friend, daughter, & child of God

-when I witness my son showing compassion. He has such a tender heart for anyone crying or hurt

-my daughter already understands that leadership is gender neutral

-loves Jesus independently

-my daughter can make my worst day better with a simple smile and hug and a i love u daddy

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