One of my favorite shows is Nineteen Kids and Counting (or is it twenty by now?). I sit fascinated as I watch the mom, Michelle, seemingly breeze through her days raising and homeschooling who knows how many children. Talk about humbling! There are days when I can barely manage raising and homeschooling my one child. I can’t even begin to imagine how to multiple that by nineteen!
Television shows can make you feel either incredibly inadequate or in the case of those nanny shows, probably just a little bit smug. The true reality is that being a “good” parent is a lot of hard work. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I asked some moms of well behaved children their secrets. Ironically, two of them looked at me and said, “There are no compliant children.” Evidently they had worked hard for years to train their children to be well behaved, loving, young men and women. They told me parents of children who were less well behaved would look at them and sigh, “Aren’t you lucky God gave you a compliant child.” The reality is I have yet to meet anyone who received a child who was always perfect. There is a lot of work that has gone on in the homes of those little “angels” you sometimes see in public.
In my lifetime, I have worked with hundreds of children and parents of all ages and just about every religious, ethnic and socio-economic background. The best parents are almost always the ones who were proactive. They had a plan and made decisions based on what they thought the long term consequences would be for their child. There is always a lot of love in these homes with tons of affection and a sense of humor that is almost always present. The child is held to a reasonable but firm expectation of behavior. The parents and the child listen to each other with real attention and respect.
The true reality of parenting (despite that family with nineteen children!) is that there are no perfect parents and no perfect children. I am on the same journey you are currently traveling. In the coming months, I hope to continue to share with you the secrets I have learned from more experienced moms, ideas I have stumbled upon that have worked for us, scriptures God gave us on parenting and things I learned in my training to be an educator.
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I would love to hear your ideas or questions. Comment at the end of any post or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). As Parenting Like Hannah continues to grow and evolve, God is already showing me additional ways I can perhaps minister to children and families around the world. In the meantime, I hope you will join me on my journey, as I am sure there is much I can learn from you that will help me on my way as well.