Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I'm not raising my children.

I'm not raising my children. 

Seems like a bit of an extreme statement -- especially when one looks in to my life.

I've made the choice to stay home with the tiny humans people refer to as "my children".  From the outside looking in one would see me with the children almost non-stop. I clothe them, feed them and ensure their safety. So, from all viewpoints -- I'm raising my children.

But if that was true, let me tell you, things would look different on my end.

If I was raising my children I would give them what they want when they want it. I would spend my days singing and playing and reading. I would let them decide what we do and snuggle them forever. I would still help them dress, and I would make the decisions for them when they didn't 'feel like it' on what to wear. I would let them choose all the little things when they did feel like it: what to eat, where to eat it, when to eat it.  I would let them sleep with me, and I would let them skip naps and stay up late. I would let them run the show.

I wouldn't be worried about fostering caring children, or sensitivity for others. I wouldn't worry about spoiling them so that they only care about their needs. I would not be concerned they can't cooperate with others and it certainly wouldn't bother me that they would have no physical independence. 

It wouldn't bother me that my life is 100% dedicated to them, their whims and their ever-changing wants.

But you see, I'm not raising my children.

I'm raising:
someone's friend
someone's employee
someone's coworker
someone's boss (hopefully!) ;)

and most importantly:
someone's parent
someone's spouse
a servant of Christ

My mother has told me for as long as I can remember that parenting is all about one thing: letting go.  And, as mothers often are, she is right. I'm not raising a tiny human to be around me all the time. I would love to keep my children all myself for forever and spoil them always. But, at some point, these tiny humans won't be tiny, and they won't be my children. They will become their own person.

So I'm not raising my children.

I'm raising people to go and be productive in society. I'm raising people that will be supportive and encouraging to others. I'm raising leaders, forward thinkers, and kind hearts. That means sometimes I have to discipline when I want to laugh. It means I have to be very aware of others' feelings and explain them to my kids, so that they can learn to see them for themselves. It means I need to teach them to apologize.

I'm raising men that will respect me, and by extension every woman. And, when the time comes, they will take wives and serve and respect them with honor.

I'm raising a woman that will respect herself, and understand that she is more than worth every ounce of that respect. I'm raising a woman to be quietly independent and gracious in all her relationships. .

Raising people for someone else means that I have to force them to do hard things sometimes. I need to stretch them and grow their independence. It means I need to let them fall and fail. It means I need to be there for them when they get back up. It means sometimes we leave the house looking like this, so that I can foster independence and confidence...

Raising someone else's companion is a tough balancing act of showing gracious love and firm confidence.

It is my prayer, and responsibility, to see that my children see beyond themselves. That they are kind, sacrificial and patient. It is my hope that the leaders, friends, spouses and parents I raise will be grateful and loving people.

I don't have all that 100% figured out yet, but I do know that it starts with me -- it starts with my example. These kids are just a temporary gift to me, and I hope my gift back to the world and the people they choose to live directly with are people that are not only tolerable, but admirable.

So when you hear me say "I'm not concerned with what you want" when my children clamor that they want something or if you see me let my children struggle to do something -- it isn't because I'm lazy or grumpy. I most likely haven't had a bad day. This is just simply my parenting philosophy.

I won't be here forever -- I'm teaching them to live without me. So that someday when they have to, they can.