Friday, September 28, 2012

Things that have helped me along the way.

Now that we have entered this new era of parenting, I've been thinking about some things that really impacted me as a mom.  These are fairly random and come from a variety of sources. I am a parent of one child and that impacts my parenting in many ways
 Parenting has been a tremendous experience of sanctification and blessing for me.  It's not always easy but I will say that I love being a mom.

So, in no special order...

* Pray for your kids.  This seems so obvious but it's so important.  When I was pregnant with Elisabeth, I had a book called "Your Pregnancy Week by Week."  As I would read it I prayed for both her physical and spiritual development.  For example, if the book said that her eyes were developing that week, I would pray for her eyes and then for eyes that would see God.  I prayed that she would be a good sleeper and she was. As she has gotten older, my prayers have been different but very specific.  Pray for your children.

*Have strategies.  When I was a pre-school teacher, I read an article  in a professional journal about having patience with young children.  The gist of the article was that teaching young children requires strategies so that we are not only relying on our patience to make it through the day.  Having patience implies that children are somehow unpleasant and something to be endured.  I am not denying the need for patience with our children.  But having strategies that help them make such a difference.  With little ones, a five minute warning before changing activities, choices where possible, regular routines and bedtimes make a difference.
Part of strategies mean guidelines and consequences.  It makes me sad to see parents be impatient with their children as their children fall apart because they are hungry and overtired.  Get to know your children and find strategies to get their cooperation.

*  Sanctify the will.  When Elisabeth was not quite three, someone told me that I was going to need to "break her will" or we would have trouble with her later.  Fortunately I read a book about strong willed children called You Can't Make Me But I Can Be Persuaded by Cynthia Tobias.
In this book, she talks about molding and shaping the strong willed child and how to get cooperation with out battling them to the mat.  Strong willed people who have sanctified strong wills accomplish great things for the Lord.  This book really helped me to shape, rather than break.

* Time.  Many years ago, I was gifted to hear Wally Yu speak at the Chinese Gospel church retreat.  He told a story about playing pool with his teenage son. He knew his son had something to talk about but it wasn't until they had played many hours and it was late, that his son began to talk.  As a non-late night talker, this really impacted me.  Teenagers tend to talk at night and we need to give them the time to do it.  It's so crucial to have those conversations.

* You can talk about anything.  Really.  Anything.  Gay marriage, poverty, bullies, boys, girls, shopping.  Anything.  Make your home a place where your children can ask any question, respectfully express any opinion.   Allow them to have different opinions that yours. Along those lines, if you want your children to speak respectfully to you, speak respectfully to them.  Sarcasm, cutting remarks and so on are not relationship builders.

* Enjoy the season.  When Elisabeth was a new born, my mom stayed with me for a week.  We were out walking with the stroller and I commented that I looked forward to Elisabeth being a little bit older.  My mom reminded me that this time was very special and you know, it was.  Enjoy the time that your children are in.

*  Finally, don't expect a fall harvest in the Spring.  I also read this in a book about pre-school parenting.  When your children are young, you are in the Spring. Harvests that are forced are not mature harvests.  Keep planting and watering and the harvest will come.


  1. Great post!! I'm about to speak at our church to a group of mom's with approaching adolescents. You said much the same as I will just in a different way. I'm going to be sharing your post with a few exhausted young moms today. Thanks for taking the time to write this one.

  2. I'm so thankful we have a God who is totally able to make up for all my shortcomings and failures as a mom!!

    Good stuff here Sandy!

  3. Sandy: I was given your name by Kelly Degan. I know you don't live in China now, but we are headed to Shenyang for our son in Dec, and do you have any writings on it? Advice? Pics? Must do advice? When I have more time, I will view your whole blog. For now, I gave a cursory look, love your views on faith and raising children. Traci Smedley

  4. Traci- can you e-mail me at ESLLaoshi @ g . I'd be happy to "talk" with you.