Parenting

Bring up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.

My favorite blogger, Caralyn Collar, a.k.a BeautyBeyondBones, was recently engaged.  She and her fiancé are looking forward to their wedding and then starting a family.  We’ve messaged each other a few times this week about parenting.  The biggest part of it is modeling good behavior to and around your children.

I’ve seen too many parents treat their kids more like annoying pets than their own flesh and blood.  Children should not be drug along like unwelcome baggage or shunted out of the way.  Let me give you some examples.

Our first daughter was a mere toddler when she started trying to be part of the “team.”  For example, she wanted to help doing the dishes after dinner.  I’d wash and dry while she stood on the counter by the cabinet with mom spotting her.  I’d hand her a dry dish, and she learned to put it in the right place.  It was something she clearly liked doing.  Sure…I could have finished that chore quicker without her help, but it was important to include her!

After my father died, my mom had to downsize from a huge, five-bedroom bungalow to something less expensive to maintain.  Cleaning it out was a lot of work, especially when we decided to rip out all the gold carpeting to show the wood floor beneath.  We dragged yard after yard out to the alley to be picked up over many hot summer days.  Once again, our daughter, still a toddler, wanted to help.

She wasn’t content with small scraps.  She went after the bigger pieces and struggled them to the alley as we guided and helped her just a bit.  She wasn’t a big help, obviously.  But we let her be part of the team!

It wasn’t all work.  My wife and I put a lot of effort into play too.  I’d be the “monster” under a big blanket on the living room floor.  The girls would try to sneak by without getting grabbed and yet hoping that they would!

Julie played dress up with them and show them…novel…ways to play with their Barbies.  They’d tie strings to them and have them “rappel” over the staircase railing on some adventure!  They eventually realized they could play that game from the second floor down the laundry chute to the basement.!

Almost every day I’d take them on a short bike ride in the morning before I took them to grandma’s and went to work.  Weekends we took longer rides, miles long.

We had the biggest house in the family and so usually hosted Thanksgiving and other holiday feasts.  We never had a kids’ table.  We figured the best way for them to learn what being an adult meant was to let them eat and interact with everyone at the same table.  They learned conversation and to ask questions.

The biggest things in parenting are inclusion and modeling the behavior you want them to grow into.  Your kids aren’t annoying pets unless you make them so.  They are God’s blessing upon your union, your marriage!

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