Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recently I have been reading a lot on marriage and parenting. These are the two over-arching roles of my life right now (and I suspect will always be, whether or not a career ever features too!) - wife and mother. What I have read ranges from cliche and humdrum, to straight-up crazy, to inspirational wisdom that is helping me refocus. From rules and patterns to follow, to the fresh, life-giving air of grace and freedom.

I have so enjoyed the last weeks and months of 'concentrated gleaning'. I am grateful for others who have walked the paths of spouse and parent before me, grateful that they have shared with me their life lessons. One thing I am coming to learn about myself, though, is that unless I form concrete application of what I have read, no matter how inspirational the words, I will forget them.

To that end, I am creating a framework for one of my two roles - that of mother. (Possibly I should have started with my role as wife, since that takes precedence, but the book I am currently working on addresses raising children so I will jump in where I am!) As Anna approaches her second birthday, I'm realising that the type of parenting I engage in is about to change. She is not a baby. Babies, in my opinion, are easy. (Intellectually, I mean. I did not have to discipline Anna as a baby, or explain things to her, or teach her about moral standards.) She is not even really a toddler any more. She is becoming a child, who will in turn become an adult. And I can't fly by the seat of my pants and expect to produce a responsible, well-adjusted, morally sound adult who has an intimate walk with God at the end of my 18 years of raising her!

I am writing my framework (or list, or model, or collection of thoughts) in pencil, acknowledging that with my limited knowledge and foresight, I may need to revise it! Also, Mark and I plan to sit down over coffee next week and incorporate his version, so the final draft will look a little different :) That being said, here it is so far:

Things I want to pass on to our kids/ a focus for raising them:

A close, foundational relationship with God; intimacy with Him and the strength that that gives

Obedience to a law higher than themselves

Certainty that they are loved by me and by God … no matter what

Intact self-worth and a sense of purpose

An ability to forgive and love those around them, and see the innate value every created person has as being formed in God's image

Contentment and an eye for beauty wherever they are

Patience and perseverance; self-discipline; willingness to work hard

Freedom from man-made 'moral laws': Is it truly a sin? Does it put them in imminent danger of sinning?

Desire for wisdom

Justice coupled with mercy and grace

And there you have it ... if I've missed something critical, I'm open to advice! :) I have a sneaky suspicion that the best way of passing these characteristics on to Anna and any other kids God sends our way is to model them well in my own life. And honestly, I'm ok with that. These are all things I want more of in MY life too, not just those of my children!