Recently, I’ve been more selective in the kind of parenting books and articles that I read. I find that with all the information out there, I end up more confused than enlightened.
One breakthrough I’ve had in the past 10 months is that I’ve slowly learned to separate issues that I need to be concerned about and those that I can let go of. For example, for the longest time I was adamant about developing a routine with Nathan wherein he doesn’t use drinking milk as a way to fall asleep. I also wanted him to learn as early as possible to sleep through the night so Jon can come back to bed with us and we can all finally have a good night’s sleep as a family.
But things haven’t been working out as planned.
In fact, I noticed that drinking milk at night and co-sleeping with Nathan are helping us work on a more important issue, which is his relatively below average weight (he belongs to the 25th percentile). In time when he is older and ready, he’ll be able to sleep through the night and move to his own room.
Deciding on what matters most
If you are a parent, you know that this role, if we let it, can cause us to worry endlessly – ranging from the most mundane concerns to the more serious ones (like sickness, safety, emotional health, etc.). To relax, I asked myself if there was one thing I wish to teach Nathan, what would it be? If there was one thing I want him to become, what is it?
John Medina, author of Brain Rules for Baby, said that the most common questions he received from parents-to-be are those that focus on either their babies’ happiness and goodness (i.e. “How can I make sure my little girl is going to be happy?”, “How do I make my grandchild good?”), or how their babies can develop so that they can excel in their careers (i.e. “What can my baby learn while she is still in my womb?”, “Does playing Mozart improve the baby’s future math scores?”, “How do I get my kid into Harvard?”).
These questions are important because we all want what is best for our children – we want them to have a comfortable and happy life.
But I had to ask myself honestly, if these are the most important things to consider when raising Nathan.
The answer is that is not.
When a Pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-39).
So to God, the measure of one’s success is not merely how good a person is nor what he/she has achieved in terms of profession. In Nathan life (as in ours), his success will be measured by the depth of his love for God and how this translates to how much he loves his neighbor.
Keeping this in mind, I know that the best gift that Jon and I can give Nathan is to shepherd his heart to Christ. And that can only happen if we ourselves, make our faith our priority. This is a great reminder because with our everyday concerns, I end up forgetting the most important thing.
In order to shepherd Nathan’s heart effectively, there are a few practical steps:
1. Keep our quiet time with God sacred, everyday. How can we have God’s wisdom to parent Nathan, if we do not hear from Him consistently?
2. Learn to creatively teach Nathan the bible in various stages of his development as a baby, child and eventually, a teenager. Share with him stories about Jesus and how He is the ultimate hero.
3. Know what the bible says about parenting and implement these instructions (I like to refer to the book of Proverbs for this).
4. Be mindful of what “impresses” us as parents. Do we consistently make grades the basis of whether we should reward our children or not? Do we classify people’s status by what school they went to for college or how much money they are making?
Remember that whatever method we use to motivate our children, will be the yardstick by which they will measure their own worth and success.
5. Loving means that we also effectively discipline our children, so we need to teach Nathan his boundaries. One book that expounds on this topic is called, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. This book has so much wisdom, it became my foundation for effective parenting.
I highly recommend that you read this.
6. Pray, surrender and have faith that when God saves us, our entire household will come to the full knowledge of Christ as well.
If you guys have tips on how to raise kids who love and cherish God, do let me know. I’ve only been a mom for a short while and there is still so much to learn.
Thanks for reading my blog and I’ll catch you again soon. 🙂