Okay, anyway, so I've been swimming in books lately, and surprisingly, they haven't been the typical kind I read. Typical being a cute, lighthearted, British-centered novel about some crazy mom struggling to keep up. (Speaking of, if you are in the mood for that I HIGHLY recommend you run and check out, "I don't know how she does it", by Allison Pearson. I laughed out loud more times than I did when reading Nanny Diaries.)
No, lately, I've had my nose stuck in non-fiction books, written by Christian authors. I just finished "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge (life-changing, completely opened my eyes to something I had never even considered -- the idea of spiritual warfare. More on that in a minute...)
And why have I been so immersed in these books lately? Well, I realized a sobering truth... If someone were to ask me why I believed what I believed, I'm not sure I'd be able to explain my faith very well. I just wouldn't. I believe God created the world and everything in it, including me and every one of us sinners, and for a purpose. I love the Lord and I believe He loves me. But I wouldn't be able to explain, really, WHY I believe.
Distressed about my realization about myself, I talked to Jason about it, and he suggested that I read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. That's what did it for him, he said. He was a non-believer until he read that book. He's an engineer, a thinker, a questioner, and that book diffused every argument he could have made for why he shouldn't believe in God. And I've been told, "A Case for Faith" (Lee Strobel) is another great book for anyone with doubts...So, I dived into Mere Christianity in hopes that it would give me something concrete.
There was another reason I needed to know more about why I believe...and I'm not even sure if Jason realized how wise I think his comment was, but he said to me during that conversation, "And you know, a person who's faith isn't founded on a solid foundation...that's just the kind of person who can loose their faith instantly when tragedy strikes." I don't want to loose my way because I never really understood my faith.
Okay, back to my recent book selections...
At playgroup this past Wednesday, I was browsing through Laura Beth's shelf of books (I love to see what books people have in their libraries), and I immediately pulled out the book, "Parenting by the Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child" (John Rosemond).
Laura Beth saw me holding it and she piped up, "Great book! One of the few I read cover to cover." I was instantly intrigued, for every time we're at the library, I usually check out some "parenting" book to read. And what's funny is I've never been all that thoughtful about the credentials of the author, or even if I agreed with their perspective. And after reading 60 or so pages into "Parenting by the Book," I've come to the conclusion that I wasted a whole lot of time reading those parenting books. In other words, it was the "blind leading the blind."
Rosemond's book is utterly and REFRESHINGLY simple: he presents - and get ready!- not his own ideas about how to raise a child (he even slams his OWN profession of psychologists), but he uses scripture to open our eyes to the best, most straightforward, fail-proof way to raise children. And after all, Jesus Christ is our own "Wonderful Counselor." No need to pay anyone huge amounts of money per hour to fill our heads with psycho-babble...and Rosemond tells you that in his book!
He calls it a blueprint, and jsut look at these two examples: this one you've probably heard - "train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6
and others less obvious: "Simply let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no' be "no." -Matthew 5:37. Translated into the wise words I learned from "Sugar," 'mean what you say and say what you mean.' Honestly, as I'm tested daily by my two-year-old, I can tell you that I repeat that to myself no fewer than 8 or 9 times a day. I know I will fail at many things, but I will succeed in making sure my children know if I've said something, I mean it!
Check out his introduction of Part 1:
"In the 1960's, secular progressives stormed the ramparts of American culture. They took sledgehammers to anything and everything traditional and erected the false gods of their new religions, the most insidious of which has been therapeutic psychology. The new psychology, unleashed from the restraints of objectivity, was programmed to aid in the destruction of the intact nuclear family, and a good job it has done. Mental health professionals attacked the legitimacy of the traditional marriage and demonized traditional child rearing, both of which are founded on biblical principals. Parenting according to Dr. so-and-so replaced parenting according to God's design, and it's been a downhill ride ever since."
He says that the "Parent-centered" family became the "child-centered family," and I think it's absolutely true! I've seen it during my years in the classroom and I realize I've even fallen prey to this idea. Personally, I'm consumed every day, constantly fretting about Jack and Lucy receiving my full, undivided attention 100% of their day, and I've sacrificed so much to accomplish what I thought was a worthy goal. Some days I don't get around to showering, because I wonder, should I really take away 20 minutes of time I could be reading to them or practicing Lucy's ABC's???? And it's not a rare occasion that I finally touch base with Jason about how his day was when it's 10 pm and we fall into bed exhausted.
God places the highest priority on the relationship of husband and wife. Yet, I'd say I spend about 90% of my day in the role of "mother" and a mere 10% in my role as "wife." Jack and Lucy will acquire an expectation of marriage and the role of what husbands and wives do directly from what they observe in their own household. I want to provide a healthy model from them to learn from. Yes, my children are a priority to me - absolutely! But they shouldn't be the only priority! So, our plan...after dinner every night, we're going to put Jack and Lucy in the new gated-playroom, and for 20 minutes, they're going to play alone, and Jason and I are going to sit down together in the nearby room and CONNECT.
And I have to say that's my "plan" because we haven't done it yet; said we were going to do it tonight after dinner, and guess what, it didn't happen...because right after dinner, Jack started succumbing to lack of sleep and became "terror-toddler" who required our full attention. Already failed at my noble attempt. Must do better tomorrow! :-)
And speaking of my wonderful husband who I'm not near right now because I'm blogging (and have been for the past 30 minutes or so...), I'm going to call it quits on this post...I could really go on and on - and I plan to- but no more tonight. I'll pick back up on my thoughts on "Waking the Dead" and spiritual warfare (you simply can not avoid the realization of this idea in today's world and in our community!), and I will definitely reflect upon the section of Rosemond's book I"m currently reading - all about how humility, not self-esteem - is what we need to teach our children. Incredibly compelling!
I'd love to do a book group, but my chances of getting a group of girls together is slim to none, as everyone is so incredibly busy, so I'm it. I'm going to be my own book group. This is really more for me than anyone else, anyway...taking notes, reflecting...this is how I learn. I want to learn, I want to grow. I want to be better...
Stay tuned... :-)