The best parenting advice I ever got
came 25 years too late…
Not that I didn’t read parenting books,
not that I didn’t read my Bible,
and not that I wasn’t falling to my knees every day seeking help
during those earlier mommy years,
because I did.
And not that I didn’t get some great advice all those years ago,
because I did.
But for some reason those authors didn’t know then
what today’s authors know now.
And yet, there it was, staring at me in black and white:
priceless advice in a book I just finished reading—
My two kiddos are now 28 and 18. (*sigh*)
And it wasn’t even a book on parenting.
In Crazy Busy by Kevin Deyoung,
he wrote a few short chapters addressing the busy-ness of modern Americans,
reminding readers not to squeeze devotional time and family time
and down time and vacation time completely out of our schedules
(which so often run into overtime),
and which is amazingly and unfortunately too easily done.
But, back to the parenting issue…
It seemed my parents and grandparents, and some of your parents and grandparents,
didn’t have as much to choose from
in the way of parenting “tools” as we did.
The older I got the more I figured out how to make improvements,
and sought advice from other parents,
in between doing a lot of observing and mental note-taking.
As a mom, I was ready, with stockpiles of articles and tips
and real life experiences from seasoned parents I knew.
Plus, I stayed home with my kids (which at the time got a lot of emphasis).
But even as devoted as I was, as prepared as I tried to be,
I still made mistakes.
Oh, my… looking back, I’m amazed at how many mistakes I made.
Since then my kids have already begun informing me
of their planned improvements on our parenting skills,
and what methods of ours they won’t be using, etc., etc.,
in between their thanks for the things we got right.
Tomorrow’s generation of parents will already know what went wrong
with today’s parenting methods,
after experiencing firsthand the trials and errors of flawed parenting…
And they’ll do things differently.
Then they’ll write new books.
But what they probably won’t realize until 25 years later is,
they’ll make a new set of mistakes in their parenting generation;
then their children will do things differently,
with a whole new set of issues facing them,
when more books will be written and old books tossed out.
(The principles are the same—it’s just the applications that are different.)
So here’s the advice, from the chapter “A Cruel Kindergarchy,”
citing a Christianity Today magazine article by Leslie Leyland Fields:
One of the most resilient and cherished myths of parenting is
that parenting creates the child…
Parents with unbelieving children, friends with children in jail,
the discoveries of geneticists, and the faith heroes in Hebrews 11
are all powerful reminders of this truth:
We will parent imperfectly,
our children will make their own choices,
and God will mysteriously and wondrously use it all to advance His kingdom.