Friday, September 01, 2006

Parenting My Older Child

I have realized that much of my parental focus falls onto my younger children.  I think a lot about how often to nurse Ciaran, the importance of babywearing, gentle potty training, setting understandable boundaries, and other things that affect my youngest children.

Sometimes I think that I avoid focusing on parenting my oldest child because he's the most complicated.  Now, I'm certain that as my other children age and grow into themselves, they too will become complicated.  But Reagan is my first.  He's the one I've lovingly dubbed my "guinea pig child".  He's the one that I've learned my craft with.  The one I've experimented with.  Probably the one I've made the most mistakes with.  And yet still, he has a loving and good nature.

As I work to make God's parenting my example, my question then becomes, how does God parent those who are growing and learning?  Grace based parenting strives to give enough space to let the Holy Spirit work, but enough guidance to make it harder for children to stumble.  Grace based parenting also understands that children will stumble.  And it is our job to hold them and comfort them as life teaches them the lessons they must learn.

When I really think about that, I realize where I fall short.  And I am grateful for the God who parents me with Grace, forgives my shortcomings and works through me regardless, when it suits His purpose.  As Reagan grows older I have to remember that, though he can tie his own shoes, go to the bathroom by himself, and read and write, he still needs his parents to guide him through what is unquestionably a complicated world.

May God give me strength and guidance in so great a task.

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