Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Attached or Invested? Extreme Child Rearing

When it comes to being a mom, we are often presented with 2 conflicting viewpoints. The first is the model of feminism. This concept is best expressed by women such as Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple. Although revered by her adoring fans and ladies around the world as a mother figure, her daughter, Rebecca Walker describes her relationship with Alice Walker as anything but a mother. Just recently, Rebecca's young son ran up to her and cried out for his mommy and Rebecca was there to greet him. After that moment, she shared her opinion from being raised in a feminist home:

"The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman." She continues, "You see my mum (sic) taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale." (For more on this eye-opening expose on the feminist movement, go to this article)
The other extreme is found in the view espoused by William Sears and is known by the moniker, "attachment parenting." According to the article I read in the Christian Science Monitor which was written to respond to the current TIME magazine cover, this is the kind of parenting that defines these kinds of moms as:
"moms who breastfeed their children through toddlerhood, who eschew date nights in favor of nursing, who never leave their children (ever), and who happily give the marital bed over to the baby." Accordingly, that means that an attachment mom is defined as someone who is, "baby wearing (no bouncy seats or strollers here - baby goes in a sling next to mom), breastfeeding (as long as possible), and co-sleeping (baby in bed)" mother.
Now, some might refer to these women as moms, but it seems to me that it would be better to refer to them at the worst end of the spectrum as "divorced" or at the best end of the spectrum as a "one child parent." Just food for thought when one considers how incredibly impractical this parenting method is. Although Sears describes this as the norm in other cultures, I beg to differ. Having lived in a third world country for some years, children are brought into the home rapidly and with very little consideration for their well-being. More children equals more opportunities to be supported in old age. This only reflects how encapsulated he is in our affluent, first world lifestyle.
So, are these two extremes what we should choose from? Is there another, better way? Yes there is. It's called traditional child rearing. This has been what has built our civilization for 3000 plus years. It is the Judeo-Christian model and it works EVERY TIME it is tried. Here is that model for you ladies:

First - Be a godly woman. Love Christ as your first priority. Show that by talking to him in prayer every day as you begin your day. "as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God." 1 Timothy 2:10

Second - Be a wife to your husband. This is where the attached parent model completely breaks down. Your relationship to your child is not your defining nor your most important relationship. Your husband is. Read Ephesians 5 if you doubt me. The best thing a parent can do for her child is love his or her spouse. "encourage the young women to love their husbands" Titus 2:4

Third - Be a parent to your child. You are to take care of your child and make a difference in their life. But, let me remind you, you are not their friend or their spouse, you are their parent. As the Bible shares, women are to "love their children" Titus 2:4

Fourth - Be a sister and daughter to your extended family. That means that you do develop those relationships and take the time to make them work and thrive, but they are not your first, second, or even third priority. For more on this, you might want to read Elizabeth George, A Woman after God's Own Heart. For more on a daughter-in-law's relationship, READ Ruth 1 and examine Ruth's devotion to the mother of her husband.

Life for you women is a great balancing act. It amazes me that you can move between your roles so easily and fluidly. You can be a mother one moment and a lover the next. You can then transform into friend or a partner when the moment calls for it. You are special and are the pinnacle of God's creation (I say this with great respect and a lump in my throat). Be all that God called you to be and never sell yourself short. You are highly favored.

Pastor Trey Rhodes

For more on...

Motherhood listen to the latest message on Oceanside's Podcast: Lover, Mother, Partner, Friend.

What's happening at Oceanside, go to: www.OCAnnounce.info

Oceanside Church with directions and service times, go to: www.MyOceansideChurch.com

1 comment:

  1. Great post and a great sermon. It was very challenging for the husband and encouraging for the mothers.

    Can't people see the way we're raising our children in the US isn't working?