Empathy in Parenting

This was a great podcast by Mark Labberton, Kara Powell, and Steve Argue (all from Fuller Seminary). Their research has shown the different landscape that our kids are growing up in: economic challenges, social media, technology, vocational pressures. One reminder I needed to hear was how difficult it is to parent. It takes much more effort than I’m willing to put in sometimes.

Click here for the podcast.

First Day of School: Prayers and Hopes

Many are starting school today (this week, this month).  We dropped our boys off and just like that, they’re off to learning and growing.  Here are some things I am praying and hoping for; not just for my kids but for all who are starting the school year.

*For Parenting Wisdom:  I am grateful for our teachers.  But I also know that our children’s education is our responsibility as parents and that it’s tough work.  So the prayer is one of humility, asking God to fill us with the wisdom needed to teach our children to be responsible, hard-working, playful, and thoughtful of others.

*teachers and staff members:  teachers pour themselves out so much every day.  Praying they would have the support needed to be the type of teachers that inspire and equip our children.  Praying that parents would get to know their teachers and see what their needs might be.

*a hope for building community:  it’s a hope of mine to build more long lasting relationships and community with parents.  In community we can give and receive support, help meet needs together, and impact the lives of our students and school.

*a hope for children to discover their talents and abilities:  the educational basics are great, we need them.  I also pray that students would discover their talents and abilities, and that we’d learn to value all the different types of ways students think and experience life.

*for those who don’t have educational opportunities:  I also can’t help but think of children (in the U.S. and abroad) who don’t have the opportunities to get the education they deserve because the country might be stricken by war, political upheaval, or poverty.

“Father, we ask to be parents that model Your love and grace to our kids.  We pray for our teachers and school communities–that they would become transformative communities of learning and compassion.  Amen”

The Parenting Paradigm

Our parenting is a product of our upbringing.  Like it or not.  The gift of knowing this dynamic is that we can reflect and learn from it, as well as add new tools to our parenting tool belt.

I recently came across the following graph on parenting:

ParentingStyleDiana Baumrind, a child development psychologist, came  up with the graph.

What quadrant do you fall into?  I float between a few of them and am obviously striving for the “Authoritative Style”.

Don’t Blame Others

This is a great passage of what salvation and life in the Kingdom of God looks like.  It’s a picture of someone trying to manage their life.  How to get along with God, self, and others.

These are good words to share with my son’s.  This is my prayer for them today; that they’d grow into these virtues by our example and God’s gracious gifts.

“Don’t blame others” – This is the one that stands out to me.  Relationships go bad really quick when we blame.  The root word for blame is blaspheme, which means to speak irreverently about God or others.  When we are wronged (real or perceived), to blame is to speak irreverently to the other; we show a lack of respect for who they are and thus devalue the other (and ourselves in the process).  Imagine that!  We devalue ourselves when we blame others.

From Psalm 15


 

1 God, who gets invited
    to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?

“Walk straight,
    act right,
        tell the truth.

3-4 “Don’t hurt your friend,
    don’t blame your neighbor;
        despise the despicable.

“Keep your word even when it costs you,
    make an honest living,
        never take a bribe.

“You’ll never get
blacklisted
if you live like this.”

Dave-Parenting: “ALVIN!!!!!!!!!!”

We went to go see Alvin and the Chipmunks today.  I went for the kids…not because I want to be like Alvin.

http://www.munkyourself.com/us/

I have been getting frustrated with my older one as of late.  He’s six years old going on 17.  He wants to argue with me about everything and wants to use the words “NO”, “I’m bored”, “No, Dad.  You’re wrong.  It’s like this ________!”  He’s smart and he knows it.

It’s tough being a parent.  I get frustrated, irritated and angry that he won’t listen, especially when I’m in a rush (which could be a lot of the times).  Hence, my connection to Dave, the parental figure, who I sound like.  Only, I’m saying “CHRISTOPHER!”

I want to be a loving, nurturing, supportive father.  I think I am, for the most part.  But there’s a string of days where things aren’t clicking in our relationship.

A relationship.  With my son.  Yes.  It’s a relationship.  I know they’re  our “kids”, but a relationship is still required.  A great one at that. It requires me understanding my little man, listening to his needs and trying to care for him in a way where he feels loved and cared for.

"CHRISTOPHER!!!!"

I was grateful for the movie because it reminded me of how parenting and growing up is tough.  Children are changing.  It’s draining being a parent.  It’s tough work.  It never stops.  It’s frustrating.  Dave’s frustation with Alvin is quite deliberate by the creator.  He must have related to the characters.

Nevertheless, I welcome and accept the reality that sometimes, things will escalate to some yelling and conflict.  We’re hispanic and we yell.  It’s all good.

It’s okay to be upset.  It’s not okay to lose our cool.

It’s okay to yell.  It’s not okay to yell demeaning rants.

It’s okay to be frustrated.  It’s not okay to lose self-control.

It’s okay to yell “Alvin”.  It’s not okay to scream at our kids and put them down.

Another movie reminded of what we ought to be saying to our kids AND what they (we) yearn to hear:  “You is smart. You is kind. You is important” (from “The Help”).

Peace be with us parents.