Friday, August 6, 2010

Parenting is Your Highest Calling and Other Myths

I'm still on a reading frenzy.  It's abated a little since I'm not on a retreat anymore, but I'm frantically trying to finish up a few books before school takes over my life again.  I have to share this recent read with you. 

I have read many parenting books:  One Million ArrowsSay Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids, Sacred Parenting, The Strong-Willed Child, Shepherding a Child's Heart, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, and even a few chapters of Train Up a Child (which I don't recommend). 

Most of these books were helpful in some way or another.  I was able to glean some parenting tips and tools, and most of them did not make me extremely uncomfortable because of rigid ideas encouraged.  Parenting is an important but extremely challenging job, and we all need some help.  But the book I read recently was a breath of fresh air that I needed, and I'm thankful to Sara at My Ears are Tired for bringing it to my attention.

"Parenting Is Your Highest Calling" And 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt by Leslie Leyland Fields was a source of encouragement for me. 

The author explores eight myths that many Christians have fallen for: 
     Myth 1:  Having children brings happiness and fulfillment.
     Myth 2:  Nurturing your children is natural and instinctive.
     Myth 3:  Parenting is your highest calling.
     Myth 4:  Good parenting leads to happy children.
     Myth 5:  If you find parenting difficult, you must not be following the right plan.
     Myth 6:  You represent Jesus to your children.
     Myth 7:  You will always feel unconditional love for your children.
     Myth 8:  Successful parents produce godly children.
     Myth 9:  God approves of only one family design.

Fields reminded me of what my true calling is:  To love God.  Parenting is an opportunity to share Jesus with our children and to point them to their callings as well.  I think I have been carrying a yoke too heavy of my own making and forgetting that God is capable of covering and using even my mistakes to shape my children. 

This certainly doesn't absolve parents of responsibility.  Instead, it frees us to follow God's plan for our families and to tune out the voices of our culture or well-meaning friends when we consider the size of our families, the way we educate, the way we discipline, the way we serve at church.  Yes, we need to model Jesus to our children, but more importantly, we need to point our children to our need for Jesus.  And the important question we should each be asking ourselves is, "Am I parenting faithfully?"

Pick up this quick, easy read and be encouraged.  God is in this parenting thing with you . . .  or rather, you are in it with Him.




the shoafs said...

thank you for that list. i am definitely going to pick up the leslie leyland fields book. sounds like it's one that i could really use!

Cranberry Morning said...

I've gotta look that up. Sounds like a great book. And you're right, we need to remember that God works all things together for good, not just the things we think represent our finest hour.

e-Mom said...

A facinating book Sugar Tails!

However, I'm not sure I agree with all the myths presented by the author. I think the main takeaway that we live in a sinful, fallen world and that's what makes parenting so difficult. (Eve's curse... in pain you shall bear children.)

For instance, having children does bring happiness and fulfillment in a way that the world cannot understand. Our sacrifices bring joy, and the rewards of relationship do come as our children mature.

2. Nurturing children IS quite natural and instinctive to those gifted with care.

3. Parenting is way up there in terms of our calling... the very first thing God told Adam & and Eve was to "be fruitful and multiply."

4. Good parenting should lead to happy children--some of the time!

6. We DO represent the Godhead to our children... how else will they see Him? We are imperfect representations, however.

9. Not sure what the author allows as far as family design. I hope she isn't thinking same sex marriage! God's design for families is pretty clear: one man and one woman. Man has corrupted that through sin.

Sorry to be so negative! I just don't see a lot of biblical Truth coming out of this book.

Have a blessed weekend. ((Hugs))

Missie said...

thank you so much for sharing this!

GlowinGirl said...

E-mom, I understand what you're saying -- really I do! If I had just heard the myths themselves, I would have been leary of reading the book, but because I had seen some of the statements that the author had written on my friend's blog, I knew I wanted to read it. What I got from the book is that you can't do any of these things WITHOUT JESUS. :) Yes, we represent godly living, yes (sometimes) good parenting produces happy children, and yes parenting is important. But we can't do it all. We need Christ -- and that's her point. (And she stands for traditional marriage, too, by the way).

Maggie S said...

I get it and I am hoping to get a copy for myself. Hope you've had a great week.

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Sounds like an interesting book! I've read many on your list at the top too - loved Shepherding a Child's Heart and One Million Arrows. I've also read The Strong-Willed Child and the To Train Up a Child series (and I don't recommend it either :-)
Thanks for sharing - I LOVE to hear what others are reading and learning!
Much Love,

Mariah said...

I'm always looking for parenting advice. Has anyone heard of 'raising godly tomatoes'? A friend recommended it, but I am not a big reader, and I try and only take time to read something I KNOW is worthwhile. :)

GlowinGirl said...

Mariah, I have not read that, but I do believe it was referenced in Field's book I reviewed. And I don't think it was a positive reference . . .but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. I just don't know. Sometimes we have to pick out the good stuff in a parenting book and throw away the rest.

Anonymous said...

Love this~! Our #1 call is to love God...YES! And I love the question we should be asking: Are we parenting faithfully? One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa: "We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful."

That, I can do.

Stopping by from Ann's...

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