Do you guys mind if I just talk for a bit?
Some things about parenting have come naturally to me. A solid routine in the baby days, for example, was borne of the fact that I needed the predictability as much as I believe my infants did. It was some way to gain my footing as I was entering the daunting world of life with a new baby. Behavioral analysis - or, manipulating the antecedent-behavior-consequence reality to work for us, instead of against us - came out of my experience, and was a natural transition from work to home for me. Living out my faith with my children is a natural desire, as well. Though the "hows" of that are sometimes ambiguous, I never wonder if I should. Some things about parenting have just clicked.
Like building relationships among siblings: when do I intervene? When do I not? If Asher takes a toy out of his brother's hand, but replaces it with another toy, and Silas - because of the blessed distractibility of little ones - never acknowledges the injustice, do I care? Should I care? Bigger things too. I see real value in home-based education (for young children, especially). I also see real value in classrooms. How am I supposed to know which is best for us? Preschool has been met with mixed success this year. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater; at the same time, how much power do I give other people to tell my children who they are while they are still so wont to believe them? Isn't that my job as a parent? Should I be putting my energy into making preschool work? Or should I be putting my energy into teaching him (them) here?
And how do I ride out the three-year-old waves of tantrums with grace? I know I am (mostly) consistent in my response, but am I consistently right, or consistently wrong? Our oldest kids are always our guinea pigs ... I wish I had a better sense of what I was doing, rather than always finding the boundaries by bumping against them.
I need wisdom, guys. And confidence. Patience, too, but mostly wisdom.
That's all. Amen.
(P.S. In the midst of this, I was asked to write an article about the purpose and joy of motherhood. And who would've thought, it figures ...)