Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Parenting Ponderings - Part One

I was thinking about the recent post about raising kids when the three of us were having another heated discussion over lunch. Not heated as in arguing (much)... heated as in three opinions on a hot subject merging together to understand each other. That being stem cell research.

As one who suffers greatly from a disease stem cell research might cure, I could be the middle man (middle mom?) and think through how people may feel one way or another. Of course, all three of us are pro life and always filter discussions through those lens but I love to look at how others come to their conclusions (via their own worldview). It's a little harder for my black and white, perfectionist, engineer husband to even admit there are areas of gray in any argument. :)

As both my kids grew older, I think they knew there were no subjects we couldn't discuss. It didn't matter if I homeschooled all day or all the hours they were home (for we are all homeschoolers even if we don't teach their math and science)... I wanted our life together to be a continuous conversation... and a safe place for ideas, questions, and thinking out loud.

As I look back, there are a few things I realize turned out good that didn't look that way as we were going through them. As a young wife and mom, I had a mental blueprint of the kind of life I wanted to live in which I would bring up my many children. Life didn't follow as I thought... one child in Heaven, another born the next year... the third coming along twelve years later (God had to laugh at that one as he planned Christopher's arrival).

I can also say in fifty-plus years of living, I have never lived one perfect day. I thought I would, at one time I assumed there would come a time in my life when circumstances would be perfect and that would be best for the children. It never happened... and once I realized it wouldn't then I could relax a little and enjoy life as it was and not the way I wanted it to be.

As it turned out, the very challenges we met through the years were the seeds planted which produced two great adults now... my kids. How I thank God now that our quest for professional and financial blessings did not happen as we thought and we found instead that the journey was the blessing... not anything we would achieve (or not). :)

I should have known. God placed a man and woman in Perfection. He was the perfect "parent". They still rebelled... which gives relief and hope to any parent who has done all they could and children still flee the nest to go their own way... and have to learn for themselves before returning to open arms and forgiveness... just as He meets us when we return.

There is something about human nature that brings us together as we must meet the challenges of this world as a family. This is the schoolroom where children learn the lessons needed for life as they work with us to provide food by planting a garden or watching for bargains, care for the loved one who is ill, pray for the one whose place at the table is empty (whether a child or a parent who has gone prodigal).

It is good when kids learn to pray for Dad's safe arrival home when work demands a great deal of travel, to pick flowers for a depressed neighbor, read a book to one whose eyes have grown dim, bring water to the one with a fever, and mostly... watching how parents (grandparents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, neighbors) meet the challenges found so often in life.

Of course, those times of "success" can bring their own challenges as we have busy schedules and travel or two jobs (Mom and Dad) and all the juggling that takes. We've had seasons of life where there was "more than enough" financially as well as having lived in a large house (exactly the floor plan I'd always wanted).

Keeping children grounded can be even more difficult in affluent neighborhoods when everyone around them finds happiness and satisfaction in what the world offers. To be honest, I found keeping the family close was easier in the lean years with less distractions offered for our time and money. My daily mantra during the lean days has been... "Let's see what miracle God does today!".

Sigh... I'm still pondering and this is far from finished. Part Two tomorrow? That is, if anyone really cares for I am just thinking out loud while typing. :)

Picture: I'm Suzy Book2


Beth said...

Thank you so much for your words today. Sometimes I feel as though I'm "waiting to live"..."when we get there..." kind of philosophy.
Life is the journey, as you said.

I agree with you about having it easier to keep the kids grounded or focused during lean years. We live in a VERY affluent area yet we do not have a lot of money ourselves. It is hard when all the other kids...seemingly...have all they want and ours don't. It was much easier when we didn't live in such a fancy area. We were all grateful for what we HAD, we didn't notice as much what we DIDN'T have!
God is good, though, and is teaching us everyday what we need and what we don't need. What others need and how we can help!
Thanks again!

JoAnn said...

I have been following your blog for a while now. I find your writings so inspiring. Thanks for all your wisdom. God Bless you and your day!

Mrs.Rabe said...


I really appreciated your thoughts today, especially the part about God being the perfect parent and yet still having rebellious children! That helps my heart, as we are dealing with one who isn't walking with the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Oh please do continue.....I don't have time to add to my comment just now as I have to head out the door but YES ! The idea of God as the perfect parent and still he had rebellious children...of course we all knew He is perfect etc but I never thought of it as you said... Yes please continue Brenda...Jody

matty said...

You always seem to "hit the spot"! This is a such an enlightening post! Thank you for the inspiration and conversation! Hope you are having a great day! Matty

Marlene Depler said...

Thanks for sharing your reflections! I like the concept of seeing life as a continuous conversation with our families.

One time when our youngest daughter was probably in 3rd grade, we were visiting some friends out of town. My friend said something about the preacher's sermon that weekend when our daughter piped up and said, "We have three sermons every week!"

My friend inquired further about what she meant.

She said, "Well, we have one on the way to church, one at church, and one on the way home."

Then my friend asked her which she like the best.

My daughter said, "Oh, I like the ones we have in the car best!"

It was then that I realized just how very important the discussions and converstation with our children were that we had "along the way" as we were doing life together.

Anonymous said...

Please keep sharing your thoughts! It is comfort to me in reading and often you are thinking out things like I have in our journey. It has been great comfort to us thinking about how the most perfect parent ever (GOD) had rebellious children!! In recent months, in listening to a rabbi's teaching online, he has emphasized that everything that happens to us will be for our best...eventually. And we may not understand it in our lifetime, but often we will. And in some cases in our lives, some of the most painful situations have resulted in NOW being some of the most encouraging. It is so hard to see today, how things happening now, can actually result in good later!
Thanks for sharing as you do, Brenda!

Jonam said...

its nice POST.