parenting philosophies

Recently I've thought a lot on the why of having children and by extension the why of parenting. The viewpoint expressed by Helen Andelin in Fascinating Womanhood deals more with the day-to-day than an overall philosophy:

"The feminine woman", writes Andelin, "is moved by an instinctive concern for [her children's] physical welfare, she sees that they are properly fed, bathed, and free of danger. She would  never allow them to go hungry, cold, or unprotected, if within her power to prevent it. She takes pride in their appearance by keeping them clean, well-groomed, and attractively dressed. She is gentle, loving, and understanding. She teaches them how to be happy, and gives them praise and encouragement." [Ch. 17 "The Domestic Goddess", pp. 258-259][image "Focusing on the Important Things in Life" by Carlo Nicora]
Most individuals desire to be good parents; how they define good parenting is varied. On the blog, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, the author affirms that her purpose in parenting is to "[raise her] children to be warriors for God's kingdom, to know how to face the battle and to stand strong for God." Simple Marriage author, Corey Allan, writes, "After your kids are grown and out of school, ask yourself this: are they taxpayers? . . If you can answer this with a yes, you did a great job." In 100 Promises to My Baby, Mallika Chopra identifies two parenting choices; the first, that she desires to give her children a childhood "filled with wonder, magic, adventure, and mystery"; secondly, she hopes to teach her children "love, respect, honor, and acceptance [in an effort to create] a safer, more secure, and more nurturing world" [pp. xvi - xvii]. Like others, these determinations likely were influenced by the choices of her parents. Mallika's father, Deepak Chopra, writes that as his children were growing he felt the most important thing he could do for them was "to give them the self-esteem, self-assurance, and security that comes from a direct experience of the essence of one's soul." [pp. x]

As mentioned above part of my own search for a parenting philosophy has been spent in reading. Lots of reading; perhaps parenting used to not come with a manual but in my library system there are over 500 books on the subject. One of these, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, has this to say on parenting philosophies:
In many ways we have lost our faith in the meaning of life and our confidence to understand our world and our society. My point here is that you are raising your children in the context of very confusing and rapidly changing times. Your goals and aspirations for your child are going to be greatly influenced by these times and the prevailing ideals and beliefs. A central core of values and beliefs - ones that remain unshaken by tumultuous social changes - will serve as your compass as you chart a course for your family. I hope that, at least once in a while, after yet another hectic day, you will sit back and reflect on where you are going and whether your day-to-day interactions with your children reflect your true values and dreams for their future. [8th ed., pp. 6] 
What are your dreams for your children?
What values do you hope to instill in them?
Are your day-to-day interactions on track to do just that?

  1. I am grateful for the Thanksgiving holiday.
  2. I am grateful for clean water.
  3. I am grateful for the birthday well wishes of friends and family.
  4. I am grateful for puff pastry.
  5. I am grateful for kind & knowledgeable doctors.

1 Comment:

Mary said...

This is something that's so interesting and important to think about. It seems like there are so many things I dream of for Rachel. I want her to be happy - true happiness, or joy rather, that comes from doing good, serving God, and serving others. I want her to feel loved. I want her to be kind. I want her to have faith.

I want to teach her the values of respect, hard work, compassion.

Thing is, all these things seem so obscure and far-away in my day to day world. I think, I hope, that I am teaching and showing these things through trying to be kind to her, singing "I am a Child of God" to her every night, going to church, etc. But I often wonder if I'm really doing enough, even young as she is (my daughter is 16 months, for others reading this). Parenthood comes with so much joy, but also more guilt than I ever would have imagined. I get frustrated often. I raise my voice sometimes, which makes me feel so bad. But I also say "I'm sorry" to my daughter too. So maybe, hopefully, she'll learn, even through my mistakes, that it's ok to be imperfect and ask forgiveness.

I think that probably the biggest way my daughter will learn from me is in my example. I can talk about kindness till I'm blue in the face, but if I'm not kind, she'll never learn it. So working to develop my own values is probably the best way to instill them in her. Which helps both of us.

I often find myself thinking that I could get so many more things done, and quicker, if Rachel wasn't underfoot all the time. And then I realize that she is the reason I have so much to do. So I can find joy in laundry, dishes, scraping a half-chewed fruit snack off the floor, etc, because that fruit snack means I have her.

I feel like I'm veering off subject here, but what I'm trying to say is that it sometimes feels like my daily "mundane" tasks aren't teaching my daughter anything, but I'm caring for my family, I'm (hopefully) bettering myself, and little moments of teaching and joy pop in and out all day, if I just open my eyes and heart to them. Some people have a hard time seeing it, but motherhood truly is a great work.

I think motherhood, and teaching moments in particular, is/are one of the greatest manifestations of "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."