The Lost Art of Parenting – Let’s Talk

I posted a blog on the Lost Art of Parenting yesterday. Later on, while reading through it once again, it occurred to me that each point I brought up could be a post in and of itself. So, I decided to edit my original post by breaking it down into a summary. From there, we can go on to have some reader-involved discussions on our feelings toward the Lost Art of Parenting. Feel free to join in!

I’ve been digesting something for a while and I’d love for you to give me your input! Once you’ve read through the post, take a moment to leave a comment with your thoughts/ideas on this subject. This is an ever-present issue and I love learning about other people’s journeys through parenting. )

Last Monday, I was talking to my counselor about the kind of Mom’s Group I’d like to be a part of. After explaining to her my idea of parenting and the types of moms I’d like to surround myself with, she said, “You know, you seem to be very passionate about the lost art of parenting.” I thought she made a great and simple point, and I started to think about the Lost Art of Parenting and what, exactly, it is.

Obviously, our current culture has greatly modified the perception of “good parenting.” All of us parents are somehow qualified experts if we have a child, and we are only held responsible for making decisions that “work” for us and make us “feel good.” It’s quite sad. Parenting is usually just another word for going with thetrend. Many of us (myself included) have blindly follow parenting experts in books and magazines without actually taking the time to consider what will be beneficial, healthy, and edifying for our whole family according to our God-given parental intuition.

I’ve stood by and watched many examples of parenting throughout my (albeit short thus far) life. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a passion for becoming a wife and mother. I gleaned techniques from where I could, babysat constantly, and observed quietly. I thought I had it all down when I first became pregnant. “I’m not going to be one of those parents who lets their kids control them! They need to know, from a young age, what the real world is like!” I’d state matter-of-factly. Then, I had Jack. “I can’t bear the thought of letting him cry for any reason. He’s a little baby, he doesn’t know any better!” I’d whisper sweetly. Then, I was sleep-deprived and confused, and off to the books I ran. In the end, I realized I’d forgotten something very, very important – God. Had I asked him for direction? I tossed the books aside and turned my eyes toward the only reliable source, the One who made me a mother in the first place.

Slowly but surely, he stripped away all of my concerns and anxieties. I was able to relax – and to trust him to guide me through each difficult time! I was amazed at the difference it had made.

More recently, I’ve begun to uncover exactly what I believe parenting should look like. Truth be told, I don’t think we’ll be judged, at the end of our days, based solely on our parenting styles. I do, however, believe that we ought to strive to honor God with all of our daily choices, including how we raise our children. Here are some of my thoughts…

I was a wife before I became a mother. I believe that while my children are (cherished) temporary visitors in my home, my husband is there to stay and should be treated as an important, respected part of the family.

Let’s greet our children the natural way. Basically, I feel it is important to give babies the gift of a natural, uninhibited birth when possible.

Breast is best. I believe it’s important to breastfeed our children, for the sake of their health, when possible.

Healthy foods are a priority. We owe it to our children to foster healthy eating habits from an early age.

Choose doctors, medications and vaccinations wisely. I believe that it’s important to consider alternative routes to health before relying solely on a medical doctor to fix/maintain our health (although medical doctors can sometimes be of great service).

Products matter, too. As parents, we are responsible to preserve our children’s health by becoming educated and choosing healthy products.

Discipline is absolutely necessary. There is an anti-punishment/anti-consequence movement in the world of parenting, which completely ignores the Bible’s clear instructions on how to raise our children well.

Church is not just for grown-ups. Children do not need to be tucked away into childcare, but instead, can be taught to enjoy church as a family event, not only a grown-up event.

Homeschooling. Homeschooling provides children with quality education that simply cannot be matched in a private/public school setting.

Children are to be enjoyed. We live in a time where children are viewed as an inconvenience. This should not be so.

Forget the parenting books. I believe that we ought to put our faith in God’s Word and the quality people he’s placed around us to counsel us as opposed to methods and rules given by “experts” that only speak from their personal experiences.

Don’t get caught up in a trend. We must reconnect with the art of parenting (focused entirely on honoring the Lord with our decisions), not the trend of parenting (which focuses on playing the part of a hip, social role).

Those are some of the things I associate with the Lost Art of Parenting. What do you think? Do you have anything to add? What are some topics we can discuss on these matters? Is there something you disagree with? Let’s talk!

I’d love to “hear” what you have to say!

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9 Comments

Filed under eating food, on being a mama, tea-timing

9 responses to “The Lost Art of Parenting – Let’s Talk

  1. Katie Riddle

    I love your heart for parenting. I am with you and support your vision and values. I, too, feel it is my responsibility to research and provide nourishing foods for my family and to breast-feed my babies for… a long time (my personal cut-off is 2 years). I strongly agree about including children in the broader church body, and am still trying to figure out what that looks like.

    I think there are some areas where the ideal situation can be different for different families. I feel the ideal method of education for my children is home schooling. Some families might have different situations than mine. Perhaps there is a child who suffers from a mental disorder. A specialist available through a special needs program might be a huge help establishing a foundation for development for that child. Maybe after some help, that child can be successfully home schooled.

    I agree that natural childbirth is the ideal situation, and mothers do their babies a huge service educating and preparing themselves for an unmedicated birth, but there are (seldom) times when medication is needed in certain circumstances, and we must be sensitive to these mothers especially if they really attempted to have an unmedicated birth.

    I also think the Bible is where we should find our answers. However, I believe there are elders in the faith that have more mature insight into the answers God gives us in the Bible. Some of this insight can be found in books these elders write. I have found amazing, sound insight in a book that has stood the test of time (written over 100 years ago) called “Hints on Child Training” by H. Clay Trumbull (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/188393401X/103-0643322-3292652?SubscriptionId=0AM07842GGE1QVDN6KR2). The biblically sound standards he speaks of have been a huge challenge to me, and I’m so thankful for what he offers. He wrote the book at age 60 after having eight children and many grandchildren. This guy has a lot to offer.

    Along the line of book reading, I have also found a lot of extremely helpful info on immunizations in “The Vaccine Book” by Dr. Sears. All the other books I read were completely anti-vaccine, and this book brigs a lot of rounded knowledge about the subject. So yes, I totally agree with you to do lots of research when it comes to your family’s doctors, vaccines, and treatment methods.

    You are totally right, children are such a blessing, fad parenting is a sad, confusing waste of time, and we should look to our Father for our answers. Your heart is golden! 🙂

  2. Jen Belt

    Rissa, you really challenge me to think about things on a deeper level than I might have otherwise & I love it.

    Your statement that, “I was a wife before I became a mother”, is so true &, for me, a humbling reminder. It is so easy to get wrapped up into putting all of our effort into our children, and it is so incredibly crucial to be careful not to neglect our husbands & marriages. Thank you for that.

    As for health & nutrition… I really believe that sticking as close to nature as possible with everything is best. I am, however, nowhere near perfecting this in my family’s life as of yet. I am very pro-breastfeeding & feed Maya only fresh fruits & veggies in addition to breastmilk… but as far as what goes into my body, there are MANY improvements to be made. (And, what goes into my body obviously eventually goes into hers so… Yikes! Conviction!) As for vaccines, that one has always been tough for me. Information I have found on the internet does not satisfy me leaving me unsure what to trust. And, Maya’s doctor (of course), who I really do respect & appreciate, is very pro-vaccination. I am curious to check out the book that Katie referenced because I am pretty sure that Dr. Sears (if its the same Dr. Sears I am thinking it is) is well respected in both the parenting & medical community.

    I really appreciate your comments on parenting. I think the current trend in parenting has been, and will continue to be, devastating to generations brought up in such a way. Discipline is one of the ways we love our children and I am certain, that if done correctly, it will absolutely promote a healthy understanding of self rather damaging our children’s sense of self-worth as many seem to fear. “No” is not a bad word.

    Homeschooling… now this one really has me thinking lately. I know that my experience in public schools was one in which I was not challenged. I simply did what was necessary to obtain good grades which, for me, wasn’t difficult. Two problems here: 1) Grades are the goal rather than learning & 2) Minimal effort required, so quality learning did not occur & apathy towards education became a problem. Hmmm…. I know that this is not everyone’s situation, but in a large classroom environment, how many kids slip through the cracks without their individual educational needs being met? Whether the curriculum is too difficult or not challenging enough, I’d imagine many fall into one of these two groups.

    I am grateful for the complexity of decisions at hand in being a wife & mother who is seeking to do what is good & honor the Lord. The challenge keeps things very interesting 🙂

  3. Rissa! I’ve wandered back to your page to find you deleted and revised your original post about this! So I just had to comment again! My original comment was written in a huge hurry.

    When you posted your first edition of this particular entry, I had literally just finished a conversation with my mom about most of the subjects you touched on. Julianne was in town, and she’s 32 weeks pregnant, so somehow we brought up (and probably overwhelmed her) many of the points you touched on!

    I think our conversation first started because the latest edition of Costco Connection magazine, had a short article on whether or not homeschooling should be legal. I am absolutely home schooling my children! The 2 main reasons for me, is because in general, public school systems are failing, and are becoming too crowded. Also, I feel that they are too liberal, and aren’t teaching kids how to think, but what to think (and I don’t really agree with the line of thinking being taught!) I was homeschooled on and off, but when I went to regular school (private actually), I always tested well ahead for reading and writing skills. And I owe it to the fact that I had one on one training with my mom.

    Right now there is a push to be a certified teacher to be allowed to homeschool your kids. This is so ridiculous (for many reasons), because that means someone with an MB may not be qualified to homeschool! Why doesn’t the government realize that it’s the kids without the parents at home (not just physically, but emotionally/mentally as well) who are failing/screwing up? Why do they continue to try to take more and more parenting rights?

    Which leads me to the next point…discipline! Last week I was out with my mom, Daniel, and Brooke and her kids. We were at a dinosaur event at the Honda Center and Daniel kept acting up. He every much deserved a spanking. I knew I couldn’t give him one right there, because I probably would have been escorted out by security to social services or at least a cop, waiting to question me. (I ended up leaving the event not even half way through, but such is life with a toddler!) I can point out several places in the Bible that instructs parents to discipline with a rod. I’m pretty certain that means spanking is necessary (obviously not in every situation, but some call for spankings!)

    I also agree with you about natural childbirth. I did it twice! Unfortunately, this next baby might require a c-section, because I had a 10 pound preemie, and she got stuck–so I’ll be monitored closely, and I obviously need to do what’s best for the baby! Bethany had shoulder distorita, luckily wasn’t permanent, but the dr. even called us 3 days after to see how we were, and said in his 20+ years delivering babies, it was one of the worst deliveries he had done. If there is a chance this new one will be so large again, I’ll opt for the c-section to avoid any harm to the baby!

    I shared with you before, that I went on a parenting book binge, then realized how stupid so much of it was, and threw the books out! I think some parenting books are OK…like a trusted source such as Dr. James Dobson. I think his ministry is fantastic and he makes excellent points in some of his books (The Strong Willed Child, I have one of those!)

    I’ll cut this short since it’s turning into a novel, but breastfeeding is also a huge must! I’m sorry to report, I quit 2 or 3 weeks ago, because both my kids are early teethers, and after being bit 3 days in a row, so hard, that I was bleeding, I had to stop (she’s 8.5 months). I’m praying this baby doesn’t get teeth for a long time, so I don’t have any breastfeeding issues! I really miss nursing Bethany!

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