Friday, April 01, 2005

Trusting our own parents

This quote from She Knows the Web for Women

As I look at this lovely woman and her beautiful newborn daughter, I wonder why so many of us parents have lost trust in ourselves and our own intuition. We tune out our baby's voice to better hear our own; then we muffle our own voices to better hear those of others. We need doctors, to be sure. But why do we need to outsource our parenting to them?
and the idea that parents are going to the schools to learn how to parent along with this discussion on My Three Pennies Worth really got me thinking about why very few of us consult our own parents for advice. Instead, we go to so many other sources to get the "wisdom" necessary to raise our children. This is a sad commentary of how little we trust our own parents to help make our most fundamental decisions in family life. But it's not surprising. We have been trained since our youth that there are those besides our parents who the "experts" in various subjects and they are who we should go to.

This reminds me of a story my sister told me shortly after she began teaching. She was assigned to a fourth grade classroom. As a typical recent graduate she was eager and enthusiastic to impress her little scholars. By the middle of the year things were going along quite well. The staff liked her, the parents seemed impressed, and the students loved her. So much so that one day a little girl said to her as she was walking into class, "Mrs. H. you're so pretty, you're so smart, you're nothing like my mother!"

Instead of feeling complimented my sister was saddened. Because she was doing such a good job the little girl's impression of her own mother was diminished. My sister knew this mother. She was a typical mother trying to do her best to raise her daughter. She was working hard to send her to the best schools and hand picked the teachers to ensure her daughter's success. But the unintended consequence was that her daughter's heart was slowly being wooed away to see others more important than her parents. Left unchecked the little girl will grow into her teen years ignoring her parents and their impact in her life becomes minimal.

The eventual outcome is that the relationship is weakened and the little girl will constantly be looking for the next Mrs. H. to fill the need for information and advice. By the time she is a mother herself she doesn't even consider her mother as a possible source of advice.

Don't misunderstand. I am not saying that others cannot be involved but if it interferes with the first relationships that God has established then no matter how great the academic training the child is learning some intangible lessons that will have a lasting impact.

It is my desire as a parent that my children and my grandchildren will desire a relationship with us. Then when it comes time to make parenting decisions that can trust us and our instruction well enough to seek our counsel. Not because we raised them perfectly but because we raised them wisely.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. Exodus 20:21

Molly expressed the thought that not all can go to their parents for parenting advice. But simply because we seek their advice doesn't mean we have to do everything they advise. We are to subject all counsel to scripture and this is no exception. But we are called to honor our parents. When we seek their counsel we are showing honor and respect for their opinions. This can go a long way toward restoring broken relationships and we are all better for it.

Honoring your parents is a command to the believer regardless of what the parent believes. We honor out of obedience to Christ not because we agree with our parents.

Spunky
(Read more at How Then Shall We Educate)

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