The walks and talks we have with our two-year-olds in red boots have a great deal to do with the values they will cherish as adults. ~Edith F. HunterToday's post is going somewhere I'm sure nobody expects me to blog about. Actually this is old. And by old I mean I jotted this stuff down over a year ago. I was sitting in child-psych when the professor starting explaining how we all have philosophies on practically everything without even being aware of it, which included a philosophy on parenting. We then were asked to take 20 minutes to write a rough sketch of what our parenting philosophy was. At first I thought it was a dumb exercise. After all, I don't have kids, and I can't foresee having any of my own within the next couple of years. I mean aren't you supposed to have kids first before you have a philosophy of parenting... wouldn't my spouse play a role in that too? At the end of that semester though, I realized it was the only useful take-away she gave us. I was reminded about it when my friend Claire from elementary school came over to drink coffee and chat. I don't know how we got on the topic of parenting, but at one point she blurted out that she was sick of college, and all she really wanted to do was get married, have a couple of kids, and quilt (odd). Something I thought I'd never hear coming from her, since as far back as I can remember she never wanted to have kids. And because I'm battling blogger block today (the coffee isn't helping), reading this book this week, I'm rolling this out, even though I know it's a little weird. Me being single and all. Hey, if you're single or don't have kids yet, feel free to share a little of your philosophy in the comments... that way I don't feel like the only one...
Kids Need Training and Boundaries. I'm not one of those people who thinks parents are supposed to be their kid's best friend. Yeah, that may sound harsh, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that that style of parenting comes with too many traps. Kid's need their mom and dad to be parents. That's way different... and better in the long run.
Parents Should be Fun! Parents who are constant wardens need to repent and be fun. Seriously. Get on the floor and play! Go outside and get dirty! Be spontaneous! Be creative! And be corny! Little kids like corny stuff. Get over your embarssment and adult-ness and jump in! They're only little for a short amount of time... don't miss it.
Quality Time is Created in Large Quantities of Time. It's total myth for parents to buy into the idea that they just need quality time not quantity. Quality time is birthed from quantity, not the reverse. I don't call up a friend and say, "Hey, let's go have some quality time. I've got a half hour." Now maybe we will have meaningful conversations or do something exciting... or maybe not. My point is no one really knows when the quality time is going to occur, which is why any great, strong relationships of any kind require people to pour or invest in one another. Even more so for the parent-child relationship. When schedules and planners dictate our relationships, then I think everybody looses. Children loose thriving relationships with their mom and dad, who eventually are going to wake up one day and realize they lost out at well.
Kids Need Routine. My mom was pretty awesome with this. She wasn't all that strict/uptight or boring about it either which I think a lot of people can equate with the word 'routine.' But she did have a plan for everyday, and kept in mind that as a mom she had to be flexible at the same time. When I look back on my childhood my mom always had a routine in place with each season my sister and I were in, especially when we were really little. And I think we thrived in that. In fact I think kids thrive way more within a routine, than chaos.
Kids Are Over-Stimulated. I'm sure some will disagree with me here, but I think kids are overstimulated now with technology, after school activities and events, play dates, loaded up with sugar and unhealthy foods... I just feel like it's too much. Kids spend so much time going, going, going! That's not right. They'll get their fair share of going, going, going when they grow up. Kids should be spending their days laughing and playing with one another and rolling around in the dirt. (Yes, dirt has good purposes and I'm a huge supporter of mud-pie making days.) I'm not anti-after school clubs or sports teams... but I think there needs to be a limit on it all. Kids need free time. It may sound like that's anti-schedule, but it's not. Free time can exist within a schedule. Kids need to be kids.
Because children grow up, we think a child's purpose is to grow up. But a child's purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn't disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into each moment. ~Tom StoppardThe Reward Far Outweighs The Sacrifice. Parenting involves sacrifices and is probably one of the hardest things to do, but the rewards and blessings far outweighs all of that.
Most of All Kids Need an Exceeding Amount of Grace and Love. It's my understanding that when I'm a parent, my ultimate job will be to point my kids to Christ and His marvelous love every day... To reflect His grace at every opportunity... To proclaim His wonder to them... To cultivate and make room for their faith in Jesus to grow as much as possible can during the short amount of time I will have with them... To daily pray that they find He is worthy of it all... That they'd own their own faith, not mine or their dad's... And to be all that God will call them to be.