So I am trained and educated as a teacher. For those of you who aren’t, one of the first things you have to do in teacher training is to develop a philosophy of teaching. This philosophy is poked and prodded and changed and adapted throughout your college experience. And then, the idea behind having this philosophy written out, is so that you can memorize backwards and forwards and inside out so that you can share it in interviews and structure your classroom around that philosophy.
Well, today I had a profound revelation about my baby girl, Lemonade, and it got me thinking about my philosophy of parenting.
1. I firmly believe that my child is a gift from God. That He has entrusted me with one of his own precious children, to raise to know Him, and to love Him, and to follow Him. It is my job to love, instruct, encourage, challenge. If I keep this in mind, anything else that comes into my philosophy should be easy.
2. I believe that my family has a vision. I believe that Hubs and I were given a mission to work on together for all the days of our life. I believe our kids fall into that vision, but that they also have their own visions and missions and calls from God. The best way I know how to prepare my child to fulfill her own mission is to live mine. I also need to learn to let go. She will have to go out into the great big world one day. So when she takes off in the backyard and tries to climb everything she sees, as long as she isn’t in danger, I let her explore. If she gets into a trouble spot, I try to let her work through it herself. This morning, we had church in the park. She kept running off to go to the playground. She would run to about 10′ in front of Hubs or I and then look back to make sure we were still there. Then she’d venture another 10′, then another. And of course this is when the whole realization about my philosophy of parenting hit me like a ton of bricks, and I almost couldn’t contain the tears.
It is my truest and purest role to love and nurture my child so that when she answers the voice of Jesus calling her out to His hurting children, she is not scared to walk out on her own, knowing that she can look back, and see her daddy and me, lovingly watching after her, praying for her, and knowing that she can do anything, as long as the Lord is by her side.
3. I believe that my role is to teach and instruct my child in the Word and to teach her that she live in the world, but should not be of the world. I think every Christian parent struggles with this, and we might change our minds. But we want to make sure that our child can be a positive light in a situation where there are non-believers. So at some point, we would like her to go to public school. We don’t know how our educational scope will progress; we might do Christian school or homeschool or some of both. But we do know that we also want to teach her to stand her ground and be a light.
4. I might seem like the craziest mom because I wipe down tables at restaurants. I make my own baby food. I buy organic whenever I can. But I see it as an opportunity to give my daughter a healthy building block. Am I crazy about every little thing? Less and less as she gets older. And maybe less and less with each child. But I see that I’m teaching her two things – to take care of her physical body and to take care of creation. We also get to know our farmers and she gets more socialized with lots of different kinds of people.
5. I let her know I am her biggest fan. When she finally conquers pulling herself up on the couch after working on it for a week, I cheer her every step of the way. I talk to her like she is a big girl. I let her know her expectations. I let her help with cooking when she can. I let her climb up and conquer the slide. I let her dig through clothes and pick out whatever she wants to drag around the house all day. And I cheer her on every step of the way. I let her push outside of her comfort zone. And I cheer her on. She may be an applause junkie, but she knows I’m cheering her on.
I know there are more things and more ways in which of these areas could be expanded. We didn’t cover manners, the teen years, TV watching or any of those things. But right now, these are the things I know to be true about how I approach parenting.
Lemonade has her first ice cream cone today. See, I’m not a total nut job!