02 October 2008

The Vocation of Parenting

Liz asked a pretty serious question over at her place the other day:
I want to ask you - parents and parents-to-be - what does a vocation of parenting look like to you? What do you feel you are called to be for your kids? What do you feel the need to model in your homes? What do you love best about your kids? And what do you hope for them in the future? Even if you don't have kids yet I think these are important questions to think about. Maybe by thinking about them now I'll have some clue about how to proceed when I do in fact become a mother. So blogland, please share your thoughts with me. I'm very curious.

It's such an intriguing question that I thought it warranted a blog post instead of a comment at her place. That and I'm not getting any closer to post 700 this week - it's just not been a blogging type of week. Too busy! I know, that's a cop-out, but it's the truth. Anyway, this is post #677 and I promise we'll get to #700 before the end of the month.

So, the vocation of parenting. What does it look like to me? Massive confusion. :-) Actually, 99% of the time it is the greatest privilege and burden any of us can ever bear. There's a movie where Keanu Reeves notes that you have to have a license for damn near everything except bearing children; it's one of the most painfully correct movie lines I've ever heard (and the fact that Mr. Whoa utters it always blows my mind a little, too). The thought of what happens to my girls if I screw up too often is ever-present. I'm called to be a lot of things to my girls: provider, supporter, comforter, discipline-giver, teacher, etc. But the deepest calling I have as a parent (and I think Kristin would agree with me on this) is to be one who loves them deeply and models a giving, nurturing love for my spouse and the rest of my family as well. Even the great mistakes I'll make will be less damaging if they are made in deep love.

What do I love best about my kids? Well, in Ainsley it is her joy. We have been so blessed by the presence of this happy little girl in our lives. Some of that comes from our love for her, we know, but not nearly as much as she gives. She is just a joyful kid and we love her all the more for it. Alanna, well, she's only now becoming something more than a newborn, so we are just now beginning to discover who she is and what we'll love about her in time. The adventure, of course, is part of the fun.

Future hopes? As Liz noted, it's not for success and wealth (well, at least primarily it's not those things): we hope for strong faith, deep joy, and great love. Get those three, and everything else takes care of itself, as far as I'm concerned. I've seen no evidence to the contrary in my 34 years.

So, that's parenting in a nutshell for me. Comments? I welcome them. Thanks for reading.


  1. I'm not a parent, but was a child, and was teacher of young children.

    It seems we did a lot of mopping up in Day Care with parents who did not really know what 'love' was.

    It's about acceptance of the child, being a child, and yourself, so you can role model that love..as love yourself, so you can love your neighbour.

    It was opposite for me, so learned outside the home...mainly at church, and then Early Childhood Education confirmed what I taught myself.

    If parents and teachers "love children into their fullest self"..my own words in a poem...they could feel safe first and foremost, and then discover what is so special in them that they moved toward being as God intended and able to learn about and offer the gifts planted in them by their Creator.

    That is a work of love in itself.

    Example of course is what they learn first. We do set the tone for the day at school, my parents did at home... made me want to be out a lot.

    Respect them, their bodies, and souls as you would others and yourself.

    We are here for them, not they for us.

    When something is over, let it stay over. Otherwise a heavy burden is laid on them. This is the way of love, which is the way of forgiveness and of peace-making and good teaching.

    Know you are blessed if and when children arrive...they are a gift from God.

    Children know more than they can tell you because they do not yet have the language. I've taught children of 3 years of age to negotiate. In a safe environment they blossom.

    People keep telling me, "Life is not fair!" I say that people are not fair and that starts a ripple effect that can go for a long, long time and it will settle on someone's life you will likely never meet. Each affects all....within, as well as without.

    Adults need to know that one too. Kids hear and sense feelings, tones, tension.

    Try to have meals and bed-times positve and open to lay away fears of the day. Sleep comes then with healing.

    I was a child...who at 5 told God where it was at. I don't even know how I knew God, but figured there had to be and God was about love...without a doubt.

    All the best. It sounds as though you have a good grounding for loving...so you will be fine!

  2. This brought tears to my eyes, and the thought, "I wish he was my dad."

    My dad loved us by PROVIDING FOR US and GIVING AN EXAMPLE. A lot like Mrs. Turpin in your later post.

    So there you go. :)