Connected

I am raising three children, all gifts from God to me and my husband. I have never expected to be quite so 'blessed' and everyday I always thank God for them. Each of them are special and bring joy to our home in their own unique way. 

It is my goal to raise successful adult Christians, and success for me means that they are loving, compassionate, gentle, persistent, temperate, joyful, peaceful, faithful, and good man and women. I understand that they are right now in the process of growing up, so I don't expect perfection from them. Not only that, they are their own person and may have different ways of 'being', contrary to the way I do of 'being' me but harmonious to the way they are, as God has made them. Nevertheless, what does a parent like me do? How am I to raise my children into good Christian adults?


Recently in a Bible study that I was leading out, I was impressed that life is not about success as this world defines it--- being rich, famous, and living happy, comfortable lives. It is about giving what God has given us in the same way He has given it--- abundantly, unconditionally and without reserve. Everyone of us have received gifts from God, but receiving gifts and enjoying them is not what life is all about. It is about bringing forth fruits. It is not about having the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), but the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in our lives, thus, my goal for my children.  More than spiritual gifts, bearing fruits in life is to be much more desired, most importantly, the fruit love (1 Corinthians 13).

In this world we are living in, everybody is growing concerned about how bullying and violence has increased, most especially among our young people. The blame game is on. It's the parents' fault. It's the teacher's fault. No finger pointing here, but I say we have become more preoccupied on preparing our young people to become independent, self-confident, outspoken people rather than connected, compassionate and gentle. Most parents are wringing their hands over their children's behavior, but many are helpless over it, and some aren't even interested in doing anything about it. I am though. How do we produce compassionate, good people?

In my parenting, I had moments of difficulties, too, in which I do not know what to do. There are times when I can't just seem to get into my children's head and they can't seem to understand me. What is wrong? For my eldest, it has been easier relating with him. I don't think it has something to do with his personality. He is as active as his two little sisters but he was more ready to listen to me when he was their age, and quite understood what I wanted. The best thing was, he wanted to do what I wanted.

However, I seem to have a much harder time talking to my girls now than to their brother. Their mind set is on to something else. The youngest, most especially, likes to scream her lungs out, giving me little chance of talking with her. When she has expended her energy in protesting and I start to talk, I can sense that she is not really listening. She cannot look me in the eyes. I have been used to talking to her brother at eye level, so this seems so strange and quite disturbing to me. After my talk with her, she would most likely proceed rebelliously to what she has been wanting to do all along, or back to what she has been doing, blatantly disregarding my wishes. Have I missed something?

My daughter and I seem to be operating on different wavelengths. The only thing that I can think of is my loose connection towards her. I had been hard-pressed for the last three years, working full-time, finishing graduate school, fulfilling household duties and taking care of three young children. It comes as no surprise that my daughter is acting detached to my sentiments when I appear to be so clueless to her own needs!

Children are biologically needy: needing to be supervised, needing to be taught, needing to play, needing to be touched, to be hugged, to be loved, to be fed, to be nurtured, to be given attention to, and not just the latest educational toy or a visit to an amusement place. This is particularly true during the first two years of their lives... and the first two years of my youngest daughter's life was mostly spent with me at home. Yes, there was a time when I was fully at home with the baby for a year, but it was also during that time when I was swamped up with research work for my graduate school, and the irony is, the topic was about parenting! Back then, I just thought that my baby was clingy. Of course, she was clingy. She was a baby!


Being Real, Getting Connected, Being Responsive

Pondering on my relationships with my children, I have gained some insight. When it comes to our relationships, and if we want meaningful relationships, we have to be real. There is a difference between knowing parenting and caring to know how to really care. Being with our children 24/7 and just minding them occasionally is not parenting, especially when we just notice them when they need correcting. Children are smart enough to detect if we are really with them, and not just in body but in mind and heart, as well. Being a parent is about getting connected to the ones in our care, and not just to correct them when they commit some misdemeanor. It is about meeting their every need, and being connected enough to know them and have the discernment to say 'yes' or 'no'. It's not being indulging. It is being responsive.

The answer to most parents' predicament with children's misbehavior and discipline lies in their connection with their children, especially during the foundational years. Having that connection makes parents convey their wishes and expectations to their children, without being challenged. Reciprocally, children have a much coherent way of communicating their needs without having to resort to whining, screaming or sullenness. Parents can effortlessly talk them out of doing any foolish things, and they may not even have to ask as they can naturally identify with their parents' expectations and often want to satisfy them.


Start Early

It takes time, effort and a lot of self-sacrifice on our parts, parents, to cultivate a relationship like this. But in the long run, it will save us a lot of future heartaches and troubles. Start early on. It will surely save us from doing a lot of reprimanding or from spanking our children at all. 

When my baby needs something, he trusts that I will satisfy his need, whatever it may be: a cuddle, a hug, to be carried, to be touched, to feel me close, to eat, to play... Whatever it is, every time I strive to meet his needs, my son's trust in me grows. As his trust grows,  he gets more secured in the knowledge that I want what is best for him and he gains an appreciation of my point of view.

I have to spend time with him because it is the only way he will know me and I get to share my views with him. If I don't, he will never get to understand me and my views and, most assuredly, he will either become rebellious, sullen or unhappy, because he will feel like he is being forced or coerced. It is also during the time spent together, that I get to know him as a person, learn of him and about what is good for him. If I don't, then I will never understand from what place he sees the world.


Connecting to My Ultimate Parent

Looking at this, I can see where my rebelliousness comes from. It is from the loose or lost connection that I have with my Ultimate Parent. I see Him and His Word, especially His Law, as harsh and uncompromising. What I don't know is that He loves me so much and wants the best for me. That is why, He wants me to have no other god, for He is enough. All other idols that I would worship are detrimental to my being. Giving reverence to His name is to recognize His authority. He wants me to understand that remembering to keep our date on His Sabbath, the seventh day, is to acknowledge Him as my Creator (for He made the world within six days and rested on the seventh) and my Savior (for He died for my sins and rested on the Sabbath in the tomb and rose again). Keeping the true Sabbath, shows that I want to follow Him and not what I want. Following Him nurtures my relationship with Him. Honoring my parents is good for me, but lying, murdering, stealing and coveting will never get me anywhere and will destroy my soul. He loves me, and because of that, I am drawn to stay connected to Him, knowing and experiencing Him, and in the process, loving Him. And in loving Him, I delight to obey Him.

My relationship with my son is connected to my relationship with my Ultimate Parent. It would be difficult for me to exact obedience and friendliness from my son when I am disobedient and unruly myself. I would never get to teach compassion, love and gentleness without the Ultimate Parent. All these are fruits grown in my relationship with Him. If I am not connected to Him, I will not be able to model kindness and joyfulness in every circumstance. It is only through being connected to Him that I can do so.


We need Jesus

What this world lack is Jesus. It is not more theories on parenting, on education, or policies. Those things aren't helping now and won't ever do any good, no more than bashing each other on our differences in culture, religion and parenting practices can. If all parents are connected to God--- the Ultimate Parent, the source of all power and goodness, then no baby will be left to cry and cry, growing independent yet wholly seeking and wanting something, and looking for it from peers who themselves are clueless. In being connected, parents will understand their role to their children, and see their children as God had made them, and bring them up as He wants, and not just because it will make them look good.

My goal to bring up good Christian adults is dependent on my goal to be a good Christian adult. As I connect with my God, the Holy Spirit yields in me fruits of "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). This saying has been proven true, "Kindness starts at home"... and so does love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

As one favorite writer puts it, "(We need) men (and women) of meek and quiet spirit, who are long-suffering and patient. Let them learn these attributes in dealing with their families. Let parents think a great deal more of their children's eternal interests than they do of their present comfort. Let them look upon their children as younger members of the Lord's family, and train and discipline them in such a way as will lead them to reflect the divine image... Love is the key to a child's heart. The hearts of parents and children need to be welded together, so that as a family they may be a channel through which wisdom, virtue, forbearance, kindness, and love may flow" (White, E. G., Child Guidance, p. 268).

Let's get connected. Our children need us. Let's spend time with them and not just find the time. We may start a movement of connection, not only in our family and our other relationships, but also in our society. However, we cannot do much if we don't get connected to our Ultimate Parent. See how He will bless us with fruits that our children can benefit from not only in this present world, but also up to eternity. These gains that they reap won't crash with the next economic depression, nor fade with the crowd's whim, or our children's mood or even the weather. Investing in our children's future is not about money at all or prestige, it's about connection--- your's and your child's, your's and God's. Start now. Get connected!


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Comments

  1. love,love,love it Luv! ^_~
    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment... and the 'loves'!

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