So I often get questions about how we raise our kids and why we make the choices we do. So I figure I might as well blog about it!! Please know that these are my thoughts and experiences. I do not ask anyone to agree or claim to be an expert. I'm just sharing my experience as a momma.
I completely respect everyone's right to do what they feel is best for their babies. We ALL love them and work so hard to do what's right for our children. As my wise cousey says "The only way to be a REALLY good parent is to save a lot of money for them to get counseling!" I'm just another Christian mom trying my best not to mess up my kids too much.
So here is my basic theory on raising our children.... I want to do this work WITH them.... not keep them from doing it.
When our kids learned to walk they do it by watching an adult who already knew how. They learn how to talk by mimicking every sound we make.... When they learn their ABCs we encourage them to copy each letter by how we sing it. (Or in my case how they sing it on Leap Frog Letter Factory) In all these things we "walk" with our children and teach them how to face these new challenges. I think that's what we are supposed to do.
It seems that many times, as Christian parents, after that we get confused in how we should let them learn things. I mean it's easy with things that don't scare us like how to say "Mama." What about the things that are more frightening to deal with in life? What about when kids say mean things? What about when the lyrics of songs aren't the nicest? What about S-E-X? What about when an adult makes wrong choices and our kids are involved?
Some Christian parents have a situation where their home is an extremely loving, safe and PROTECTED environment. Then the kiddos face many of these things on their own in a school or child care environment. Parents hope that the safe place at home has prepared them to face the ugliness in the world. They encourage their precious little ones to come to them if they face these challenges so they can help them steer through it in a Godly way.
Some Christian parents feel they want to shelter their children from all the ugly that is out there. They keep their kids home or put them in a "safer" school environment. Things that are not Christian are not permitted into the child's life in an effort to protect their precious little hearts.
Then there's the way we do things which I admit doesn't usually fit into the norm. I find that many moms consider me way too liberal in the things I let my children watch, do, read and experience. I can understand that view since there is so much garbage out there. I spent a lot of time attending public school, private school and teaching both. I've seen what our kids face. I totally get the temptation to shield.
Other moms think homeschool for my children will cause them to be far too sheltered. I completely get that view too. I was homeschooled from 7th-12th grade. I know some homeschooled kids that went wild once they were let loose cause they didn't know how to handle freedom. I knew some that were.... frankly... just weird. Then I knew a lot that were cool people!!
I guess for me it comes down to my agenda. My goal is not to protect my children. My goal is to prepare them to be Godly women in a wild world. I have just chosen to prepare them by walking WITH them through everything I possibly can in an attempt to teach them to handle life well. I ask myself... is this something my kids will be exposed to in the world on a regular basis? If the answer is yes I want to expose them to it FIRST and teach them how to handle it.
I don't expose them to EVERYTHING of course!! If there are things that are NOT SAFE for them then we will stay far away. For instance, I don't expect that they will need to know how to handle mass murder on a daily basis so I see no need to expose them to violent horror movies. We will not watch graphic sex scenes as I don't expect them to see that in daily life. However, we won't avoid movies or shows where the topic of sex before marriage and living together is brought up. Bring it ON! They WILL face those issues EVERY DAY! Let's talk about how we feel on those subjects.
The basic deal is I want my kids to know how to make wise decisions and deal with difficult situations. I also want them to know that if I say they can't do something or see something it's for a very good reason and not because I'm being too sheltering.
We listen to pop music, rock music, you name it! We watch shows where the kids are disrespectful to their parents or the parents aren't around AT ALL! We don't forbid the words dumb and stupid. We watch movies that the family reviews don't recommend even if they have cuss words or magic. We study different religions and what they believe. We read books that other Christian parents may be tempted to burn.
This isn't cause I'm not paying attention. It's because I AM! We talk about what we see. We decide what we agree with and what we don't. We discuss it- learn to balance- learn to decide what to do if we face that. We use so many things we see to show kids a picture of what life without Christ looks like. We stay relevant and in touch with what's going on... we just don't BECOME it!
I can't say I am doing this all right. NO, I can say with certainty that I am NOT doing it all right. All I can hope is that, with God's grace, when my kids go off on their own they will face decisions equipped to handle it. I hope this world won't knock them for a loop right off the bat because they'll feel they've walked this road before... with Mom and Dad. Just like when our kids take those first wobbly steps watching us carefully to see how to do it. Before we know it they are off running.
Love, Angel :0)