Posts Tagged ‘family’

Raising a Leader

Every mother in the world would like for her children to make a difference. There’s something amazing about contributing to the next generation, putting your mark on a world that has yet to come. Mothers do that with their kids. Every person makes a difference in their world, but some kids are born leaders. Every parent with one of these kids knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I was one of those children. I know you’re shocked. 🙂

I also have one of those children.

I was a funny kid. And as I watch Hannah and see myself through my mother’s eyes, I find myself to be even funnier.

Some things I remember about myself as a kid:

-I almost always knew the answers to every question in Sunday school, and I had to learn the hard way not to answer every question. As a 10 year old, I got into a debate with my 65 year old male teacher about the Day-age theory of Creationism. My dad loves Creation Science, and I knew what I was talking about. We had quite the ongoing debate. I had a lot of nerve.

-I got perfect scores in PGMB, my church’s version of Awanas, I think three years in a row.

-I believed it was my sole responsibility to protect not only my brothers and sisters, but my 19 cousins, and all 40-some kids that attended our small church.

-I always thought I had the funniest story to tell, and had to tell it, no matter the audience. I had no fear. If you’ve never heard the “what was in the bush” story, ask one of my family or close relatives.

-After finishing my schoolwork, I spent hours each day gardening, climbing the apricot tree to pick the perfect apricot, reading books and laughing at them out loud, building forts with clothespins and old sheets, making tours of the backyard using our old red wagon and insisting my younger siblings participate (they usually obliged), making things like a Kid Kit (remember those from the Babysitters Club books?), pulling chairs up to the kitchen counter and climbing wherever I needed to, to get whatever I thought I needed.

-At least in my head, I was the star of every production, of every piano performance, of every gathering.

I could have driven my mom nuts. I was a handful. But instead, she chose to really love me. She allowed me to be creative, even when it made huge amounts of work and cleanup for her. She was gentle when she reminded me 500 bazillion times not to climb on the kitchen counter. She taught me about humility when I didn’t understand why I couldn’t brag about my piano abilities. She was kind to me about being bossy, helping me understand how to lead in a way that people wanted to follow. The way she saw things, that’s what she was there to do. There was nothing else more important to her than helping me and my siblings grow up feeling loved. And I did. And do.

Now, as an adult, I still have 10 projects going at once. I’m not afraid of very much. I led worship in front of thousands as a college kid. I prefer to read 5 books at a time. I can come up with pretty good ideas to fix most problems. I kinda enjoy being the one to say what everyone else is thinking but are too scared to say.

I have learned (hopefully…most of the time) not to run over people in my enthusiasm, but it’s still hard for me sometimes. I’m easier on myself than I used to be, and therefore on other people too – I was very capable of beating myself to a pulp before I started to understand God’s grace. I can keep my mouth shut when I need to, with effort. I can submit to someone in authority over me without becoming bitter.

But I’m still myself.

It’s hard on me, on most parents I think, to see themselves in their kids. As I kid I felt I had some Divine responsibility for everybody else, but watching my baby girl I realize some people probably thought I was obnoxious. That makes me want to step in to squelch it in her – to protect her from the judgment of people. To keep her from being misunderstood or embarrassing herself (or me, if I’m being honest). Because I learned it the hard way in some cases…but to do that would be to take away part of who God created her to be!

I’m trying to figure out what it looks like to parent her well. When she argues with me, because she has an opinion about everything, I’m tempted to see that as rebellious and discipline her for it. And sometimes she needs that. She definitely must learn to be respectful in the way she communicates. But if I didn’t allow her to have an opinion (after all, I always have one!), how will she learn to lead effectively? And it’s obvious that is part of how she’s made.

Over the past 4 1/2 years my mom has had some excellent thoughts about how to parent a child like this. Stay one step ahead of her – always have something for her to do. Otherwise she’ll get bored and get into trouble in her curiosity and with her high energy level. Make sure she gets enough exercise. Allow her to have control over areas of her life that are appropriate. For example she loves “organizing” her own dresser drawers. Her organization process makes no sense to me, but that’s something I can allow her to have complete control over. Choose your battles – don’t make unnecessary rules, but when there is an important battle of the wills, win decisively. For us, homeschooling is also a big part of the picture. She can be herself, learn at her own pace (which might be quite a bit faster in some areas than she’d be allowed to move in a large classroom), and pursue things that interest her. I’ve also found she needs some structure in her life. A regular routine with regular meals and sleep times, and a relatively organized environment help her to be much calmer.

I certainly have not mastered this, but I think about it a lot. What thoughts do you have on the subject? Most families have a personality type like this. While being sure to build up our children and not tear them down, even in this forum that most of them will never see, what works for your leader?


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Family Principles from Scripture

I’m really loving this kind of thing right now. I remember one time asking God why, if raising children is so important, He didn’t tell us more about how to do it. I have to laugh at myself about that now, as I am discovering the vast amounts He has to say on the subject!

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Guitar Hero

I couldn’t resist this one…

My cousin Chad works for Guitar Hero. He’s actually the one who programs the jewels to match the music, as well as the light shows in the background. I grew up playing with this kid. It cracks me up to watch this, and this. (He’s the guitar player in both)

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Summer Evening

We had the best time outside tonight. I wish I could transport you to our backyard for the night. It’s quiet here, and you hear the birds chirp and dogs bark from the other side of the ravine behind our neighbor’s yard. The air smells sweet with pine needles and grass and wild flowers, and it’s warm without being the slightest bit muggy or uncomfortable. Colorado summer evenings are heavenly.

Nick entertained Hannah by kicking her Backyardigans ball high into the air and knocking down dead tree branches for a good hour. Audrey played in the sandbox and looked at pine cones. I enjoyed my $3 garage sale find – a lounge chair.

We have everything we need, we’re realizing. Our house isn’t big, it isn’t fancy, and it is far from perfect, but if we can have peace like this here, we are very blessed.

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A while back I talked about reading John Bevere’s Honor’s Reward. Here’s an interview with him about that same subject. This is a principle that we try our best to live by. It’s difficult, and sometimes we do it better than other times, but I just feel this is such a rich teaching, full of daily application. Part one and part two.

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Question Authority

Kim has written yet another very insightful post. Some of the reading I have been doing lately has pointed to the value of being under authority, and I’m been meditating on that. We have many authority figures in our lives, and being under their authority brings certain protection in each case. For example, submitting to police officers (the law) brings physical safety as we don’t drive too fast. This first one is usually not too hard for people to swallow. In addition (and maybe harder), submitting to the pastor and elders of your church as your spiritual authority brings protection spiritually (and keeps you from doing stupid things!). Submitting to your husband as the head of your home brings personal protection – protection from having ungodly attitudes, from mean people, from having to carry the burden of a role that is not ours to carry as women.

God doesn’t ask us to mindlessly, brainlessly, and without question follow every word of those in authority. In fact Paul asked the churches to examine every word they were taught and make sure it lines up with Scripture. We as wives have input that our husbands desperately need, if they are to become all that God has for them (they also have similar input for us!). We see things they don’t see sometimes. But questioning authority must always be done with respect and honor for the position of the one in authority.

Alright. I’m done with the soapbox for today. Would anyone else like to borrow it?

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Nick and I were talking last night following an appt with Dr P. Dr P wants me to teach Nick how to do more things around the house to take some more stress off of me. Nick really wants to help, but he has some concerns. It will take some time for us to work out what this means for us. He already helps, especially with the girls, a whole lot.

In the midst of that conversation, I said something that surprised me. I told Nick, “I like my work. I don’t want you to do it all, even if you could.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, an internal dialogue started. I like my work? Doing dishes, laundry, picking up toys, feeding small children? I like vacuuming, dusting, continually wiping down tables and counters? I never used to like those things.

During my Dr P appointment last night, we were talking about what it takes to be an adult, the incredible amount of things that are required of us, including sometimes giving up things we love for the good of our family. He talked about how what is required of us goes far beyond our own ability to sacrifice, and into the territory where God must give us the strength to do it. He made a remark about what I’d given up to be a mom (meaning worship ministry). I gotta say, though it feels wrong in some ways, it also felt so good to have someone acknowledge that. I miss worship ministry. I miss it deeply. I don’t yet understand the direction of my life, because I felt certain that God had led me there, and then just as easily led me away. I am doing the right thing being home with my children, but it still hurts sometimes…oftentimes…

But I like my work? I am finding there is a satisfaction that comes when you faithfully do what God has asked of you, whether the task itself brings deep joy or not. The task of worship leading brings me joy. Dishes do not. But the fact that I faithfully do the dishes because it is part of what God has asked of me, does bring me some joy. I never realized that before. Helping my children get dressed and making things for them to eat is satisfying to me. Since when? I have no idea.

I do get tired. I do get disappointed. I do need help and breaks and most importantly God. But, I like my work. Amazing.

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