Sunday, August 26, 2007

All You Need is Love

I used to think I knew it all. When my children were little and my world was a little smaller, I definitely had some strong opinions about how "it" must be done. Parenting, that is; I was confident I knew the right methods. For instance, it was easy to get my two year old to play a "clean up" game with me while we sang and picked up his little basket of toys. This would lead me to think how simple it is to get kids to help around the house. When my little one year old would say "ta-oo" (thank you) when I handed him a cookie, I would proudly observe what a polite child I had raised, as if the job was done.

I have since had some time to reflect on the issue of parenting styles and methods. I have also observed my children exhibit less that helpful and polite behavior at times, and have seen friends with radically different parenting methods who have delightful children. Although, I do think there are some preferred ways of raising children, I no longer believe that there is only one way to do most things. I am definitely more open-minded and relaxed and less judgemental. I have observed that children are way more resilient than I believed them to be. I also have learned that there are some things that are critical to good parenting, and these things don't always translate easily into a formula, method or philosophy.

Beyond all the methods, the one thing that is paramount to parenting is love. Love of God, love of your husband and family, and love of each individual child. Love that seeks out the will of God and leads us to a life of prayer. Love that makes our husband's needs a priority and brings grace to his life. Love that compels us to serve our families with passion. Love that allows each child to feel the embrace of God. This love will give us the wisdom to make the appropriate parenting choices, and will help smooth over the rough spots. Love conquers all.

Peace, Hope