I’ve been asking God a lot of questions lately.
How should I discipline my strong-willed daughter? How do I teach my daughters to love each other and play nice? How do I show Elliott how to be a big sister to Harper? HOW DO I MAKE MY KIDS SHARE?
What’s comforting is that these aren’t new questions that no one has asked before. I like knowing that this is a struggle that existed well before my kids were born and long before I was born. I like to imagine cavewomen struggling to get their kids to share rocks (and maybe fire). It just makes me feel better about my parenting.
So I understand these questions have been around forever and there are no definite answers. We need to figure out what is best for our kids and you need to figure out what is best for yours.
And that’s all well and good in theory. It’s nice, warm, and fuzzy. You do what is right for you and I’ll do what’s right for me.
When I was pregnant with Elliott, I read Bringing up Geeks by Marybeth Hicks. I was drawn to this book because of the desire to let my kids be kids for as long as possible. I don’t know if it’s because I teach middle school and am still saddened by the lives some of my kids lead or the things that they know, but I want my kids to have a childhood that outlasts their single-digit years. And I get scared watching kids today–and I don’t want my kids to be like most of them. So this book called to me and I remember enjoying it, but I don’t remember specifics. I blame pregnancy brain.
So I plan on rereading it in the next few weeks. But I still think there should be more. Coincidentally, in church on Sunday, our sermon was over the next generation and our responsibility to them. So again, I feel comforted to know it’s not just my struggle.
A couple years ago, this would have been interesting to listen to and then I would have left the building and not thought any more about it.
But now that I have these two beautiful little girls, the weight I feel on my shoulders to make them everything they are meant to be is a little overwhelming.
When they were little babies, I knew what to do: feed them, change their diapers, have a good nap schedule, introduce a variety of baby foods to make them good eaters, sing them songs when they cry, give them to their Daddy when you feel like you might kill them. I got that stuff down.
But everything else kind of scares me. I want my girls to grow up to be strong, independent, confident, smart, funny, brave, compassionate, motivated, loving, caring women who love Jesus, each other, and their families (specifically, me) with wild abandon.
But how do I do that?
From my years in the classroom, I understand that my kids are watching me all the time. Even when I least expect it. And whatever I do, they will do. And I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing so that my example (and Chris’ example) are worth imitating. And then I think the rest will be less hard (I was going to type “easier” but I know that’s a joke).
So here are some more books that came into the Graham household this week, more things to read and discuss, more things to help figure out our way.
(I picked this up for a couple reasons: the front cover has an endorsement by Donald Miller whom I love, the back has a quote about the author from Jim Gaffigan whom makes me laugh like no other, and I need some butt-kicking in the thoughts on faith department and this looked like a good fit. While figuring out who Isaacs was when I got home, I found her blog and in the first one I read, she referenced David Sedaris which just sealed the deal for me. I know I will love her.)
We’ve got lots of reading to do. Lots of conversations to have and lots of praying to do. I trust that we’ll make good decisions, but I also know that nobody gets out of their childhood complete unscathed and we’re bound to do some damage.
I just hope we give them the foundation to know who to turn to when they need help fixing the mess we made.