The other day someone very close to me commented that my style of parenting (quite involved) is what's responsible for most of the difficulties I face day-to-day. This person holds somewhat to the Victorian view that children should be in the background; that toys should be sequestered in bedrooms and never come out; that children should not be allowed in the kitchen; that parents shouldn't have to remove nice things from low places where little hands can (and do) reach; and that parents should never give reasons why they demand or disallow what they do.
I will admit that several of the struggles I face daily would be solved by following this person's suggestions (whom I love and respect dearly). Toys only and ever in the bedroom would do wonders for the overall appearance of my house. Never having my kids in the kitchen would indeed help it stay cleaner. I would definitely have more time for leisure pursuits.
Yet I believe my greatest calling, aside from being the best wife I can, is to be a great mother. That, to me, means a hands-on mom. So yes, I am parenting the "hard" way, but who said the "easy" way is better?
After reflecting on what this person said and running it through my critical thinking lens, here are some conclusions I reached about why parenting the "hard" way is the right way for our family:
- A close parent-child relationship creates a strong family identity, which is less likely to lead to rebellion through the teen years and later in life (as Ted Tripp wrote about in Shepherding a Child's Heart)
- Personally, who does not wish their parents would have spent more one-on-one time with them in early (or later) childhood? I know my husband and I both wish this, and we don't want our kids growing up wishing the same thing.
- How can we follow God's command to train up our children in the way they should go when we are doing our thing and they are doing their thing all day, everyday?
- If like my grandpa said, these are the years I'll want to go back to someday, I want to live with as few regrets as possible. That means making lots of memories with my kids each day.
- Molding clay into a masterpiece is very hands-on and labor intensive.
"O mothers of young children, I bow before you in reverence. Your work is most holy. You are fashioning the destinies of immortal souls. The powers folded up in the little ones that you hushed to sleep in your bosoms last night are powers that shall exist for ever. You are preparing them for their immortal destiny and influence. Be faithful. Take up your sacred burden reverently. Be sure that your heart is pure and that your life is sweet and clean." --J.R. Miller, The Family
(Read more of what people are grateful for at Heavenly Homemakers)