Thursday, February 20, 2014

Women Living Well book club: Parenting

In Courtney Joseph's book, Women Living Well she covers parenting in part 3, which are chapters 11-15.  I could write my own novel about my journey as a Mom.  I never in a million years would have thought that I'd be a stay-at-home mom, certainly not of three and never mind homeschool my kids to boot!!  Woah!

Chapter 11 is called "The Influence of a Mother".

This is in part why I homeschool.  First off, my kids LIKE being with me and I wanted to have more family time together rather being rushed and stressed in the evenings.  Everyone says the years go by quickly and before I know it, they'll prefer being with their friends.  I want to savor these early years as best as I can.
That doesn't mean it isn't full of struggles.  I am 100% responsible for their education and some days that burden is heavy!  But I have an amazing support system and wouldn't be able to do this without them.  There are many days that I ask God if we're on the right path.  I reach out to friends crying, looking for help and God is always faithful.  He uses people to say JUST the right thing that lift my spirits and encourage me and it's because of God's strength that I can even do it.  People say they aren't organized enough or patient enough and although I am not either, God is and He is working on me because I want Him to.
{Courtney also cover school choices in chapter 15.  She and I are like-minded in this area.  School choices are personal to each family and child and I would never make a blanket statement that one is better than another because great kids come from various schooling situations.}

Chapter 12 is called "Parenting in the Digital Age"
I am very careful what my kids are exposed to.
We do not have cable because of the ads and garbage TV shows that are on cable.
We use Netflix and I am grateful for the "kids only" scrolling section.
I am raising kids in a sex saturated culture and am purposely shielding them from certain music, movies and the internet.  I want their thoughts to be on better things as they develop.  I want them to learn about the world, and nature, and science,  and the bible.  I want them to color, to build, to explore, and to invent.  Soon enough their hormones will kick in, they will be developing and I'll be writing a different post, but for now simply avoiding junk is the easiest thing to do.  {They are not 100% sheltered because it's impossible but when a pop song comes on that is filled with lyrics about getting it on, I just change the station.  They know that I guard what goes in our heads.  As Courtney says, "garbage in, garbage out"}.  How many times have you caught yourself singing a tune you heard hours earlier??
Same thing with violence on the screen.  If I find a movie or tv show that has something in it that isn't settling right, I don't question it, I just turn it off.  I have learned that if I ignore that quiet whisper of conviction, I'll eventually stop hearing it.  Courtney says this quote in her book that makes me shudder:

"Jesus died on the cross to save us from the very sins with which we entertain ourselves."

Wow!  What am I letting entertain me?  I remember years ago watching a graphic movie about a serial rapist.  Why do we allow such images to fill our minds?  And sadly the more we watch, the more desensitized we become.  

Chapter 13 is called "Motherhood Mess-ups"
Courtney talks about our expectations and our attitudes. I really don't like using the word "sin" but that's what we Christians like to call anything that separates us from God.  Another good word for it is selfishness.  In my selfishness/sin, I lose my patience easily and yell.  I have come a long way over the years but there is still an inner battle raging that I am CONSTANTLY in prayer about and actively working on.  Some days I am stronger at keeping from bubbling over and other days I'm a slow simmer and explode. Sometimes though, I simmer and with a little adjustment to the lid and quick stir by God's word, I get through it calmly.

I love this quote from the book:
"I had to learn to strive for progress, not perfection, and to focus on the character traits that I wanted to see in my children rather than on the negative things they sometimes did."

I am FAR from perfect and on my bad days I usually find myself dwelling on all my own short-comings.  To remember my own progress and not get caught up on all the negative I've done as a Mom.  Kids are pretty forgiving and each moment is a chance to start fresh with them.  I am constantly humbled by how they can come to me for a hug when I am grouchy!

I also love this quote:
"The anger I feel is a red flag notifying me that my children are off course... but if I respond to them with anger, I won't be a good example to my children."

When I fail, I try NOT to just ignore it.  I like to talk about it with my kids so they know that my outburst was wrong and that I'm working on being better and what's expected of them too.  Or if I'm on the computer and they need me, to put my selfishness aside and help them lovingly.
Another thing I took away from this chapter is how much more I need to pray for my kids... and pray for each of them individually and about their specific needs and personalities.

Chapter 14 "I'm Gonna Blow My Top" {HERE on her blog}
She suggests getting our kids to answer some questions.
My mom is______________.
Everyday she likes to _______________.
When she is angry she  ________________.
My mom makes me feel _______________.
One thing I wish my mom knew about me is __________________.

Here are my kids answers and I've summarized them below in case you can't read them.

Vienna {age 8} said I was awesome.  Lance {age 6} said I was Mary.  LOVE that answer!  haha!
Everyday she likes to sit on the computer {Vienna} and talk to people {Lance}.
When she is angry she yells {V} and makes a mad face {L}.
My mom makes me feel good {V} and happy {L}.
And the last question was hard for them to answer, I think because of their age.

I think overall the temperament in our home is good but I need to take some of Courtney's points for anger management to heart.  She outlines the reasons we lose our tempers and man oh man, I see myself in them!!!
Too-high expectations, exhaustion, disorganization, and bitterness in marriage {even minor annoyances in a good marriage.}  She reminded me of some GREAT bible verses too!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
Isaiah 41:10

Do not grow weary of doing good
Galatians 6:9

The thing about me and how I am parenting, is that I am not just trying to survive each day.  I make decisions for my kids with purpose and a goal in mind.  I want them to come to know God and desire to live for Him {I can NOT force them!}.  I pray that they would see that Christian living isn't a set of rules... it's a condition of the heart.  To see that they need regular time with God in His word learning what He says about living in this fallen world and to see how they need to be in constant communication with Him to be able to carry it out well.

It is such a privilege to be a parent.  I have learned so much about the character of God through my kids and I am so grateful for the chance to raise them and get to know each of their little personalities.  And through it all, I am constantly getting molded into the person God wants me to be.

"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly" 
Proverbs 14:29

post signature


Jessica @ This Blessed Life said...

PERFECT picture at the end! Love ya!

Elizabeth Balarezo said...

I love this!! Thanks for being such an inspiration!!
-Libby :)