God is in the process of teaching me something big about parenting. And life. Since parenting is probably the biggest, most time-and-energy-consuming part of my life right now, and possibly the most confusing part of my life as well, He's using parenting to teach me.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Religion isn't about rules, it's about Relationship." This was one of the points driven home by the book The Shack, which I just finished reading. (More on that later, maybe even a full review, if anyone's interested.)
Anyhoo, these last few weeks, I've been struggling with my 'parenting/discipline philosophy'. I feel like I have to have it ALL figured out before I begin. (Well, I know I technically BEGUN almost 14 months ago...but, you know, a newborn doesn't disobey you, so they don't need to be disciplined...) Before I had Zachary, I read Shepherding a Child's Heart, loved it, and thought, 'okay, there you go, that's my philosophy'. I re-read it when Z was old enough to cause trouble & begin to need discipline. I think it's a good book, but lately, I just have felt like what I understood from it didn't form a complete philosophy. And I think this age is a hard one for discipline, because Z isn't verbal yet, so it's unclear how much he truly understands. But I don't want to ignore his disobedience either.
Now I am reading another book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. I am enjoying the different points- so many creative ideas for discipline! Also, the greatest point that I am gleaning from this book is this: Parenting, like religion, is not just about RULES. As a whole, parenting is about RELATIONSHIP. If I don't have a close relationship with my son, no rules or discipline measures are going to make a difference in his life. I have so much more to learn, and when I get it all figured out, of course I'll post about it here. Don't hold your breath while you wait for that installment, though... :)
Also, we had the greatest talk about this subject with our youth pastor & wife at church this week...they have 3 kids between the ages of 9 and 14. Our youth pastor pointed out that God gives this important job of parenting to those of us with NO experience...possibly because He wants us to lean solely on Him and cry out to Him in our struggles! So my first goal in parenting this week is to strive to bring God into each and every parenting decision- "Lord, what should I do now? Does he need a little swat, or just a reprimand and a distraction?" And I've also been attempting to spend more time hugging & just hanging out with my little man, to build our relationship stronger and make my discipline more effective. And I'm still reading my book...still learning!!!