Saturday, June 19, 2010
Raising kids to simplicity and wholeness
I have been thinking on these longer runs about how all this fits together...if it does...I think it does. Raising kids in simplicity with less "stuff" (oh God bless us with no more plastic junk in my house!) and to wholeness where they avoid the modern alienation and abandonment issues that have so plagued our generation (O.k. that have plagued me) is not just a nice idea. It is a mandate that starts with God. This process of moving towards simplicity and wholeness starts with understanding and accepting that we are created. Our culture is often hostile to this concept. Probably because people are hostile to God himself.
Then, I have come to understand that much in our culture is completely opposed to our values of simplicity and wholeness. Extremely hostile.
We want our children to think for themselves, so they do not watch TV. None. I am scolded by Kurt's grandmother that they will be mal-adjusted.
We want our children to run and play out side and we have a heroin bust 4 doors down in a "good!" neighborhood. We still go outside and run races in our yard, but I train them to obey immediately to go inside if needed.
We want our children to eat healthy and understand good stewardship of their bodies. I have taught them that certain tempting items in the grocery store are poisonous. I was scolded by an older man for saying that, to which I quickly and respectfully responded that to us it IS poisonous.
We want our children to live strong and run hard, living life to the fullest. We have taught them to race. We tell them that even if someone else is in front of them, we do not stop. We keep running all the way to the finish line, even if we are tired. In our family, we do not say "I can't." Because of Jesus, we can. These lessons apply in running just as in "real" life.
Most of all, I want our children to have a simple life, understanding that the belong to Jesus first and last. And that we love them.
That is why we respond to their cries even when they are pre-verbal. We do not believe they should self-soothe without being attended to, in the night or other times. We take them to the restroom (see Elimination Communication) when they need help if they are two weeks old, 2 years or almost 6 years old! We listen to what they are saying even when they do not have the words because we value them enough to try to figure it out. I do not want them to feel disconnected from us or themselves because we won't take a little effort to understand. Some day, the tables may be turned and I may not be able to speak.
My grandma Jane struggled with dementia. I was privileged to serve her, once cleaning her soiled body just as she had helped me many years ago. Love always does the dirty work. That is what makes it love.
Many events will happen in our children's lives that will shatter them. It does not need to come from us as parents.
The best gift I can give them is the simple joys of living as a child of God through the wholeness He provides in a fragmented, complex world. Or fail trying. I'm still giving it my all.