Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When Parents Mess Up

In the last two days, I have seen at least three articles about parents who videotaped or took pictures of some questionable parenting moments. The first was a video of a toddler with a 300 pound gorilla in an enclosure, another was a two year old driving a car on a rainy highway, and the third was a picture Kate Gosselin posted on Twitter of her daughter wearing a pair of her heels.
The first one, I was pretty incredulous. Really… I have read of at least two stories of chimpanzees that attacked and ripped the faces off of people. Yes, they were chimps and not gorillas, but these animals are still wild animals. Parents should not be trying to live out their own Tarzan story. That one seems like a no brainer.
The video of a two year old driving had me wondering what everyone was freaking out about. We have let our boys sit on daddy’s lap and steer the van a time or two, but it was always in a parking lot. After watching the video, why in the world would a parent let a kid do that on a highway, at a high speed, on a very rainy day? The motivation to let the kid drive was okay, but they need to know under what circumstances that would be okay. There are safer ways to do that than on a highway.
And the third… are you kidding me? What little girl hasn’t walked around in her mom’s high heels? The picture was completely harmless and totally cute. Is it just because Kate is the number one hated parent in America? That poor woman cannot get any credit for anything she does. I feel bad for her, because if my parenting was under that much scrutiny, I think I would lose it and end up in the loony bin.
For some reason, people think it is their jobs to be hyper critical of anyone and anything that they deem is not a decision they would make. It is easy to accuse and cut down other people’s parenting choices because we are not the ones that bear the consequences of those accusations. There are times that parents obviously make bad choices, but what parent has not made a mistake or two? Who hasn’t done something they regret while parenting? We are all imperfect people, just trying to do our best. Let’s just stop and show one another some grace when it comes to our parenting, unless children are clearly being abused or repeatedly put in harmful situations. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teach Our Sons

We need to teach our sons:
The difference between women who will give them what the world says they want
And women who value themselves enough to expect marriage
That no matter what people say
All men are not stupid.
All men are not liars.
All men are not just “interested in one thing.”
That they do not have to give in to the desires of the flesh.
That to be Holy is more important than being happy.
That working hard and providing for their families is for their benefit as well.
That being a man is a good thing.
That how they treat their mothers is often indicative of how they will treat their wives.
That being active, energetic, curious, and spontaneous can be good things.
That the women of the world need their strength, stability, grace and love more than they even realize.
And most of all, that they were created to be fully loved, in the grace and power of the One who can redeem and justify them to the fullness of humanity, for the glorious work that God is doing in the world through Jesus Christ the Son and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Women in Competition with One Another

Hello! I am back after spending two weeks with my beautiful sister during and after the birth of her amazing daughter, Aiyana Belle. I am looking forward to spoiling her!

I would like to address the trend in competing mothers who take everything from whether or not they breast vs. bottle feed, public vs. homeschool, clothe vs. plastic diapers, attachment vs. whatever parenting, natural birth vs. hospital births, and the list goes on and on. We constantly try to divide women because we have to do it “better” than the person next to us. We have to be a better mom, a better wife, and a better employee. Women are also told they need to be prettier, thinner, and better dressed than the mom “over there” as well.

At what point will women see how ridiculous this is? I have to admit; I have bought into some of these competitions myself, only to realize that it does not really matter. What really matters at the end of the day is how we actually treat our families and how we treat one another. It does not matter how good I am at being a mother, wife, and woman, if the only thing I am showing my children is the need to be better than everyone else. A woman’s drive to be great should not be externally driven by the people around us but be driven by a God that loves us and created us to be Holy.

This then brings to the forefront the real heart of the problem women deal with today. From the time we are old enough to walk, people are constantly trying to push being self-confident and having self-worth on us, thinking that if we can value ourselves enough, we will avoid eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, and truly be able to live up to our potential. Every magazine and talk show out there is trying to teach us that if we do not value ourselves, no one else will value us. But the truth is that it is hard to value ourselves based on us just being ourselves. Mostly because we know just how horrible we can truly be. If I did and said what I wanted to all of the time, I am sure I would look a lot like a toddler running around in an adult’s body. My head wants to be nice and loving all the time, but my will takes over and does the opposite. This is what Paul was saying in Romans, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out,” (7:18). Paul realizes that our minds often tell us the good, right thing to do, but our nature takes over and pulls us the other direction.

Nothing good can come from within me because of the sinful nature. So, if I am looking for self-worth and confidence from within myself, I am going to come up short, because I know just how hateful I can be. Which is why finding our worth and value in God, the Creator, is incredibly important. I cannot value myself based on who I am, but I can value myself based on who the Creator has made me to be. He is the one who Created man and woman, and saw the good in us.

I believe that when women begin to value ourselves based on who the Creator has made us to be, we can let go of the petty competitions that women are constantly trying to use to divide and best the other, and value one another’s choices and opinions. That does not mean we have to agree with those choices and opinions, but we are kind and loving enough to keep our differences to ourselves or to share them in loving ways. If the opinions and choices we share makes the other person feel ostracized and hurt, we are the ones who have wronged the other.

This also means that we are not hurt by the opinions of others, because we are confident that our choices regarding our families and lives are our own, and not based on what other people are doing. We can confidently own our choices, knowing that the best person to make decisions about our bodies, homes, and families are us! Let us affirm one another in educating ourselves, loving one another, and choosing not to compete with one another, because we are the only people that can let go of those competitions. Women ultimately need to learn to love one another more than we love besting each other.