During one of my pregnancies, my grandma said she wished she could wrap me up in cotton and leave me in bed until the baby was born. I wish the same thing for my kids sometimes.
There are so many scenes of childhood that force parents to tip-toe along the fragile wire between loving pride and griping terror. “Look at the way he can dive! Oh, my gosh, he almost broke his neck on that board!”
We know these darker truths exist, but we resist them because the alternative would be to wrap them in cotton and leave them in bed all day. Doing that wouldn’t produce strong, healthy children. It would produce something unnatural and weak.
But does this only apply to the wild park of summertime fun?
What about the other ways we protect (or over-protect) our children? When are we being wise and when are we just being scared? When are we parenting in our strength and when are we parenting from weakness?
There are a thousand and one choices to be made as a parent, some of them clearly more life-changing than others. Educational choices may be one of the most controversial. That’s not even my point here and definitely not a topic I’d like to argue today, although I’m always interested in others’ experiences, but I think the deeper issue is about our sense of control.
I came across a great quote a few months ago when I read a book called Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School by David and Kelli Pritchard (with Dean Merrill). I don’t read many parenting books, but I found this one interesting, challenging, and valuable. I’ve thought about this phrase a lot since then (especially the sentence I’ve marked in bold):
We do not expect every Christian family to live like the Pritchards, or do what the Pritchards do. But however God has called you, press ahead. Anchor your family in the living Word of God on a regular basis. Even if you remain in a Christian school or homeschool setting, don’t be afraid of the public-school scene. If you are, Satan wins twice. He keeps you and your children in a state of uncertainty about God’s power in this world. And he prevents those who need God’s love from getting close to the very people who could bring it to them.
I’m wondering if by the way we parent we send the message that we think we can control our external environments (or even ourselves) when really we live in a world that is decidedly out of our control. The real issue is how we respond to that idea. How do we parent in a world that is simultaneously free-willed and yet still under God’s dominion?
As you can see, it must be Big Question Friday on the blog. Feel free to comment with your brilliance or just move along quietly to Pinterest. That’s probably what I’m going to do. Because I’m definitely NOT taking the kids swimming today! : )