Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

Sacrificing “thank offerings” for our children October 31, 2010

Filed under: Emotions,Materialism and entitlement,Mothering role,Prayer — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:17 pm

I’m four months pregnant with our fourth child (not sure I’ve mentioned that yet, but if I haven’t you won’t be too surprised if you’re a regular reader here), and lately I battle a fair bit of fatigue.  I slept terribly on Friday night and yesterday woke up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  It had been a long week, and as hunting season just started my husband was out for the morning, so I was on my own with the three kids.  That plus preparing for a full weekend – Halloween today and our eldest’s fifth birthday on Monday – and I was a crank.

The two bigger kids bickered considerably throughout the morning,the baby refused her morning nap, and when my husband returned I begged off our son’s 11 AM soccer game (he took all the kids) so I could go back to bed.  As I lay down I felt God prodding me.  All I wanted to do was crumple into a heap of  moodiness and slumber.  But, as God pointed out, I was riddled with thanklessness.  In my mind I was rehearsing all the frustrating things about my life and home and family, feeling completely sorry for myself, when in reality He has given me blessing upon blessing.  Here it was, the five-year anniversary of my becoming a mother, and all I could do was internally whine. (more…)

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Safety, Jesus, and what we’re teaching our kids October 25, 2010

Filed under: Culture,Fear,Parenting,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:24 am

Salon recently put out a thought-provoking article called “The War on Children’s Playgrounds;” definitely worth a read if you haven’t seen it.  The byline was: “By trying to make kids’ spaces safe and risk-free, are we taking all the fun out of growing up?”  The article discusses our cultures’ trend toward prioritizing safety above all else, using the lens of playgrounds, and describes the losses our children will ultimately face from this mindset. “What we’re bequeathing our children is a childhood designed by lawyers,” author Lenore Skenazy writes.  Too true.  We’re also implicitly teaching them that the most important thing in life is staying safe.

The problem is that being safe isn’t the number one goal in life; at least it shouldn’t be if we’re following Jesus. We follow a God who was hated by many when He walked this earth as a man, who was murdered by his enemies, and whose followers often came to similar ends.  He was not a man who prioritized earthly safety above all else by any stretch of the imagination. Jesus told his disciples, “‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

Our culture idolizes health, safety, and longevity of life; this is a flawed viewpoint even from a secular perspective.  From the Salon playground article: “‘It’s as if we think that there’s a world in which, if only people did things properly there would be no accidents, ever,’ says Philip Howard, author of Life Without Lawyers.” Howard’s right, and it’s ludicrous.  Accidents and injury are as old as the earth and an unavoidable part of life; more than that, they’re part of our inheritance as humans since our first parents fell.  They come with living in a sin-stained world. (more…)

 

Being satisfied with Christ in mothering October 16, 2010

Filed under: For moms,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:58 pm

Last week I was on the phone with an out-of-state friend, and I asked about her son’s new preschool teacher.  My friend described her, a middle-age woman well-known in their community, a woman who’s “very intentional but doesn’t seem to operate with much freedom.”  On paper, the woman is very inspiring – a remarkable gardener and excellent cook; a restorer of furniture with an inviting home; a person who’d cultivated many talents and utilized her resources very well.  “But she comes across as kind of joyless, and her relationships with her children seem strained.  It’s a bit of a cautionary tale for me.”

Indeed. I’ve thought about this a lot since.  The tension between intentionality and freedom fits well into my thoughts about being overly assessment-oriented, and the “Stewardship-Surrender spectrum.”  Because if you naturally score high on the intentionality scale (as I do), you usually don’t on the freedom scale. Look at Martha – extremely intentional about preparations and making things just so for when Jesus came to visit.  But no capacity to let go, relax, and be with Jesus when he actually arrived.  But it’s for freedom that Jesus sets us free, so Jesus corrected Martha. Her intentionality and bustling spirit had hindered freedom in her – and consequently hindered her relationship with Christ. (more…)

 

Some initial thoughts on homeschooling October 7, 2010

Filed under: Education — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:53 am

Last February we pulled our son out of preschool because things suddenly started to go very poorly.  Since that time my husband and I have been discussing education, schools, and homeschooling a great deal.  A lot of prayer, reading, and a July visit to the annual Christian Home Education Assoc (CHEA) conference went into the mix too.  This fall we are keeping both our son and our daughter home from preschool and doing some homeschool preschool activities.

Family friends of ours, Russ and Rea Berg, are the founders of Beautiful Feet Books, an organization that publishes and distributes top-quality children’s books with a particular focus on history through literature.  Some of you may be familiar with the D’Aulaire books; this family was basically single-handedly responsible for bringing those books back into publication and circulation.  The Bergs have four grown children and two adopted high school-age children, and they are a blessing and an inspiration to my husband and me.

I heard Rea speak at the CHEA conference and she was fabulous.  I wrote a post for her blog today about our foray into homeschooling this year – something of an experiment, especially since our children are not actually school-age yet.  Click on over there if you’re interested in learning more about what I’m thinking, and what the kids and I are doing.

 

Teaching children about friendship October 2, 2010

Filed under: Behaviors,Culture — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:42 pm

When I was a kid in elementary school I had my best friend and then my “second best friend” – each identified and aware of her rank.  In some seasons – say, third grade – I probably had a third and a fourth too.  At summer camp I was inseparable from my two best camp friends – we called ourselves the three musketeers.  This kind of thing is likely not news to you since you probably had similar friendship-ranking structures of your own.

We’re starting to get into this kind of thing with our son, nearly 5 years old.  He has some great friends and enjoys them, but he’s prone to comparing them to each other, stating preferences for the one who’s not there, and general fickleness.  I notice that he’s on both the giving and the receiving end of the fickleness, which shows me that he’s in good company among others his age.

I find this terrain somewhat difficult to navigate.  On one hand I want to encourage him to connect with other kids, develop friendship-building skills, help him appreciate “good friend” behavior, and learn how to navigate less-than-ideal social situations.  On the other hand, I want to get out of the way so he can experience human interactions for himself and learn to work things through on his own.  This latter goal seems particularly important since he’s not in preschool and spends ample time with his mom and sisters.  I want to make sure he has opportunity to sort through relationship stuff with his peers without his mom forever standing over his shoulder. (more…)