Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advice to parents of youngsters

  In my early years of parenting, I was filled with all the worries that a typical young mother worries about.  How long should I breast feed?  Is it okay to have the baby sleep in bed with you? Is using a pacifier a good thing or a bad thing?  Should you just let them cry it out? Disposable or washable diapers? Baby food or whole food? All the typical things that everyone has a personal philosophy on.  

  I got some great advice, and then I got some absolutely terrible advice, (that usually came from people who didn't have children of their own).  Mostly, I had to find what worked best for me and the baby.  

 In the beginning, being a parent is about learning all about that child.  Each child is unique with their differing personalities, likes and dislikes.  They don't come with their own manual and what "works" for one doesn't necessarily "work" for the other.

  Just like the myriad of advice, there are also a myriad of books, magazines, websites, and pamphlets that all offer their advice on how to "raise" your child.  Most of the advice is hit or miss, with a few gems thrown into the mix. You try it, see if it "works",   and put it to good use or throw it into the pile of........tried it, doesn't work, let's try something new.  

  Those first few months are the scariest. Full of self doubt, exhaustion, and worry.  After the first six months or so, you pretty much have it down.  You know what each cry, rub of the eyes, pull on the ear, and such mean,with the occasional puzzle for you to figure out, that send you on the quest for answers, and as usual there is an abundance of places to look for those answers.

  As we enter the school age, advice becomes less and less, answers are not as cut and dry.  Most books and magazines deal more with recreation, crafts and projects to do together, and less and less practical" why not try it this way?" advice.  The trial and error method seem less and less ideal, but there isn't an awful lot of places to "look" for help.

  I got lucky, I happened to just stumble upon my greatest source of advice and support.  While my children were mostly still in diapers, I had the privileged of belonging to a woman's bible study.  The age range of each woman and the season of their lives were vastly different.  We had four Mothers.  Me in my early 20's, another in her 30's, another in her 40's, and a Grandmother in her 50's, we also had a lovely single married woman who was about 5 years older than me.

  I learned so much from these women.  They all had experience that I hadn't had yet.  But there was one family in particular that just seemed to have "it" right.  They had 4 children.  Two boys and one girl.  Most of which were in Jr. High and High School.  They, like my husband and I had to work hard through most of their early married years to make ends meet, and faced some serious hardships.

  Their children were all polite, talented, good students, great athletes, and all around terrific people.  As a family you could tell that they really enjoyed being around each other, and both Mom and Dad spent most of their free time with their children.  They all loved the Lord, and it shone through every one of them. 

  My husband had the privileged of being in a bible study with the Husband of this family, and he too gleaned many pearls of wisdom from this man, his life, and how they raised their children.  We often find ourselves thinking back to things this couple said, words of encouragement, and sometimes even chastening, with great fondness.  

  This couple and their family have no idea....but they became a model of how we wanted OUR family to be.  A physical example of what it should "look" like.  We were told that it is okay to "push" our kids to be their very best.  I was also taught it is okay to allow people to fail at things, it is often the way lessons are learned best.  

  I learned that my children CAN be great Christian leaders, retain their purity, but still be accepted by their peers.  Even, have others look up to them as role models, and not down at them because they don't fit in. 

  My advice to any of you raising school age children is, find a family who has "it".  If  you do not belong to a church, find one that fits your family.  That is usually the best place to look.  Maybe, you know them already.....ask the Mother if she is willing to be your mentor and accountability partner.  Share your struggles with that person, ask your questions, but most of all, listen to what she has to share with you.  

  I am no longer in that group, and haven't been for about 7 yrs now.  Sadly, they are as busy of a family as we are, and their children are all grown and three of the four are  married.  I still keep up with their children periodically, and am happy to report that they all are doing well, and have accomplished many great things in their life. A testament to their wonderful parents.  They all love the Lord and continue to pursue their relationship with Him.

   I am glad that I had them to role model for our family, and I pray you all find yours!   

The Montalvo Kids


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.