Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parenting is an apprenticeship, not obedience school

I'm a part of a new Sunday School class for parents of elementary age and younger kids called the Homebuilders class. For the first few weeks of the class we've been looking at a book called 'Parenting in the Pew' by Robbie Castleman. I've not read the book, but I really enjoyed our class today and it's good to hear from other parents about how difficult and challenging this whole parenting thing is.

One of the topics today was on Modeling, specifically how we model worship to our kids while we are in church. Now I'm not dealing with this right now as my kids are still in the nursery during 'big church.' But, modeling behavior is something that I've had on my mind for a while. I've heard all the quotes:

'Practice what you preach'
'Kids learn more of what is caught than taught'
'Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be'

Today the quote of parenting as an apprenticeship was burned into my memory. I am aware that I am basically performing on stage for my kids 24/7 (well, maybe 12/7since they don't see me at night). As my sister and I were arguing this weekend A came in and asked, 'Mommy, why are you and Aunt Sis arguing?' Sigh. I want to provide the best model for them in all aspects of life, especially spiritually, but I need God's help to do that. I know perfection isn't possible, and it's not bad if they see me doing wrong things as long as they also see me asking for forgiveness or admitting what I did was wrong. I don't want them to think I'm perfect because they aren't perfect either and they need a good model of repentance as much as they need a good model of obedience.

But there are some things that I am a 'Do as I say not as I do' kind of mom. Most of these have to do with food. I feel slightly hypocritical as I refuse to give my daughter a cookie at breakfast and tell her, 'Honey, we don't have dessert after breakfast' when she didn't see that I ate a whole piece of cheesecake for my breakfast. Hmm. Or when I make her eat all her green beans and there aren't even any green beans on my plate. I saw an article one time about a woman who, for 30 days, only ate food that she would feed her child. And if she wanted to 'cheat' she had to give it to her child too. I wouldn't have lasted 30 days. Doing these kinds of things was much easier when they were little and they didn't know what chocolate was or what it tasted like. Now I only eat cookies during nap time, and I always look down the hall to make sure they are not waking up before I get the cookie jar down.

I personally need to be more disciplined about things that are good for me. Things like going to bed earlier, not spending so much time on the computer, not biting my nails, studying the Bible more regularly, and not eating so much junk food.

Until I master all that (ha!), I'll try to keep my cookie eating out of sight. Hehehe.

1 comment:

waldenhouse said...

I'm all about "do as I say and not as I do" right now, I am old enough to understand the consequences of my actions (and willing to accept them much of the time) and they are not. And darnit! I need that cookie at breakfast some days. But that doesn't really work does it? Thanks for pulling me back to reality. I'll go back to being sneaky. :)