Hands-on Parenting is NOT Evil!

It comes from every direction.  My daughter is encouraged to drink by our “friends.”  She is on her way home and tells them that her parents wouldn’t be pleased by her driving and arriving under the influence.  They assure her that it’s time to be her own person.

She just proved that she is.  And that she’s not dumb as a post.

She leaves home and supposedly Christian women make fun of her for calling “your mommy” every day.  “You need to grow up,” they say when she won’t take their negative and decidedly unChristian advice.  No, they need to grow up to the point they can actually keep their mouths shut about that which is none of their business.

She is grown up, and yet still a child.  Aren’t we all?  I call my parents when I need to hear the voice of one who will always love me, one who will not belittle me for being a bit sad or needy or unsure.  Does that make me defective, immature?  No, it makes me human.

My daughters communicate with me – when they’re feeling on top of the world, when they’re under a cloud, when things are rolling right along fairly smoothly.  Why should they not?

Rather than apologizing for having a good relationship with a parent or a child, we should thank God for it, and continue to do those things that brought us to this happy outcome – be there for that person, pray with and for that person, and let them know we will be as the Lord Himself is, the one who will never leave them nor forsake them.

It’s called giving them a strong foundation on which to stand, as well as wings for flight.  It’s called love.  And because of that love, my child feels free to let me know when she wants to handle things on her own.  I have such faith in her and respect for her, that I always ask her how she wants me to proceed, what she wants me to do or not do.  

We prayed this morning about a difficult situation, and I read scripture aloud to her, and encouraged her.  But when it comes down to the tough part, she must walk this walk alone.  And yet, when a child knows that she knows that her parents and Jesus will never leave her nor forsake her, how can she be alone?

Something about such a person really gets to people who don’t have this kind of surety.  Is it jealousy, or is it simply the all-pervasive societal view that parents are inherently stupid and faulty and should be sidelined and ignored in pursuit of . . . what?  The lovely mess that these anti-parent folks have made of their own lives?

What is this unholy desire to separate children from their parents?  What is this need to control and convince and influence?  And why is this invariably from people who have little or no control or success in their own lives, and with their own children?  But I must say in our case, most of our most vitriolic critics are themselves childless.

And yet, no need to fret.  My daughter, the one accused from every direction of being “too dependent” on her parents, is so much stronger than her accusers.  She goes on about her merry way, and forgives.  And she prays for those who show her nothing but disrespect and contempt (that after a bit of exasperated venting).

Just as I communicate with my parents and with my Savior, I have raised a child who does the same.  So to all these busybodies, I say, “Just mind your own business,” or as my mom says, “Tend to your own pea-pickin’.”


Conversation with Kids

My daughter Hannah was home yesterday, and she followed me around as I cleaned closets and drawers, chatting.  What fun.  What a joy to know she still likes to talk to me.

“How can I help, Mom?” she asked.  I had forgotten to eat, and knew sustenance would be good, so I requested a bit of a tea party.  We were soon sitting on the balcony, joined by Rebekah, and enjoying fruit, nuts and herbal tea.  Better still, we were enjoying conversation.

When I said I had to be gone for a minute and would be right back (putting another load of laundry on) they said, “You’d better be.”  How lovely to be wanted, popular, loved.  And what better way to achieve this exalted state than by loving listening.

This morning I was all set to return to the balcony alone for breakfast and research, but I couldn’t get away from Seth’s conversation.  I wanted to get on with my thing, but I remembered I don’t have anything on earth more important to do than to listen to my children.

“Follow me,” I told him, “and talk to me while I eat my breakfast.”  He joined me and discussed a book he’d read as a child, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy.  Marveling at what was expected and duly performed by kids back then, and discussing the differences in farming then and now, Seth was much more interesting, intriguing, and gratifying than anything I had on my precious agenda.

He left the balcony to be about his business and out popped Rebekah.  “I’ve been praying and searching for answers about my writing and my time management, Mom, (haven’t we all?) and let me show you this.”  She showed me passages from The Founder’s Bible about black American John Marrant, captive and then missionary to the Cherokees, and about his dealings with evangelist George Whitfield.  In listening closely I marveled at how God was reaching Rebekah and how she was receiving from Him.

Conversation with kids.  There’s very little kinder or more worthwhile that we can do with our time.  I’ll never forget the day I was, as usual, regaling my dad with every detail of my day at school.  “And then I go, and then she went, and then I went, and she goes . . . blah, blah, blah.”  Nothing like the beautiful thoughts of my children this morning.  And yet, my dad listened as though completely enthralled.

My older brother, who was waiting to go hunting with my dad, stood holding his deer rifle and tapping his foot.  Finally he could take it no longer.  “Did it ever occur to you,” he asked, “that Dad has anything better to do with his time than listen to you yak?”

I was horrified and embarrassed and suddenly acutely aware of the banality of my conversation.  But before I could answer, Dad answered for me.  “I don’t have a thing in the world more important to do than listen to Bev.”

Wow.  No wonder I pray lots.  No wonder I have every confidence God hears me.  No wonder I have done this great and good thing for my own children.  I converse with them, not at them.  I listen to them.

And they talk to me.  Glory Hallelujah!


P.S.  The Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household.”  How better to watch over the ways of our households, to know what’s really happening in the precious hearts with which we’re entrusted, than to converse, to listen.