Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Original Sin, Evolution, and Grandparenting

I have been keeping my two grandchildren while my daughter works. Hannah and Drayton are two and ten months.

My husband and I had three children that were born within four years. I have learned a lot since then. And this is what wisdom is about.

When my children were young, I was so concerned that they be brought up in the "admonition of the Lord". "Train up a child in the way he should go..." were mottos we lived by. We were in Church every Sunday for Sunday School, as well as the main service. We went to services again on Sunday evenings. We even sang together as a family on an occassion. But, if I was desirous of teaching my children what was important, which was about God, what have I learned about my failures?

First and foremost, I understood that our children were "fallen". They had "sin natures". So, every childish behavior was viewed as rebellion. Unfortunately, too late for them, I have learned that they were not rebellious, but just children. They needed guidance, but not oppression. I was an authoratarian, because I feared for their future, as well as failing as a parent. My desire for being a good parent became a goal that was oppressive even to me. So, I am glad for an opportunity to be "wisdom" to my daughter and to help her in bringing up the children, with the "wisdom" I have gained.

The main problem with the view I had was that there was a "form" of parenting that must be adhered to. I did not take into consideration the differences in my children or that my own issues would play into how I saw my parenting.

Evolution teaches that we are animals. Animals must be trained. But, the problem with this view is similar to my "sin nature" view. There is a "form" in which parenting is done, which is behavior modification. This is not a relational view, but again an authoritarian one.

Parents and grandparents must build a relationship with their children or grandchildren. This means listening first and foremost to what their needs are and attempting to serve them. It means that when it is possible without compromising the things that are most important, then do. Distract with other opportunities. Give praise, encourage, but be firm when necessary. This brings joy to the heart to see how responsive a little child can be and what they can learn so quickly if they believe you love them.

5 comments:

Cobalt said...

I... found this entry very interesting. I have not had children of my own, so I'm coming at this from the exact opposite angle: I was the kid.

I appreciated a lot your paragraph about rebellion and childishness. I've never really gotten a chance to see that view from the other side before.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Cobalt, most parents are well-meaning, but most parents again, become wiser with age. Understansing that is helpful in moving on with life and understanding that your life may take directions that theirs did not.

karin said...

I'm still not finished learning! We had 3 children over 9 years. After that we added foster children for a while. In hindsight, which is 20/20, I made many mistakes in parenting, although I did the best with what I had and tried very hard not to repeat the mistakes that I felt my parents made with me. It was God's grace that they have turned out to be amazing adults. I have asked for their forgiveness for and they have graciously granted it - for the times I was too authoritarian.
Each one of those children is now married and has children of their own. Each couple raises their children in the way the two of them have determined before God. Each couple raises them a little different from the next. And I get to pray that the Lord will again be gracious and keep them all in HIS Will. The one who has learned the most from all these life adventures and experiences has been me.

Your blog triggered all these memories for me. Thanks!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

kariin,
Thanks for your comment. I'm sure you've made a difference in those foster kids. I admire you for taking on that responsibility. I'm sure your comments added to mine to bless others. Thanks again.

Cobalt said...

Karin: You rock.

That's all I really wanted to say.