Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Child Training

This week we have a special speaker at church who is teaching every evening on family life and raising children. In a way it seems pointless to go, with our youngest already 10, but I am drawn back because he is very down to earth and sensible and real and often amusing.

This evening he spoke, among other things, about how it isn't necessary to have huge battles about food. I wished I could have heard that when my older kids were little and for some reason I thought if I didn't win these battles they would end up in Sing Sing.

So yeah, this is the downside of Child Training sermons at this age: regrets.

But, as I was telling Shannon of the four lovely little ones this evening, Paul and I floundered around and never quite knew what we were doing, and our kids have turned out better, so far, knock on wood, than those of some of our peers who knew exactly what they were doing, and why, and made us feel like we ought to get our act together, really now, if we could just figure out how.

Sometimes it seems like there's not much logic to parenting and it's a mix of chance and the grace of God.

We also note that people who raised a few easy children tend to do more parenting seminars than those who raised a lot of difficult ones. Just saying. (The current speaker seems to be an exception, having raised six who weren't angels.)

Families are so different from one another. Like: my friend Jane's parents were visiting over the weekend. Jane has a whole raft of brothers, six or so I think, and I remarked to her that her mom looks awfully calm for having raised all those boys. Jane said, "Well, you know, they were all the type that thought before they acted, and I don't think any of them ever had a broken bone."

I thought that was astonishing.

It reinforced my observation that kids are different, families are different, and ours seems to be very different from most others. Like, for example, in how our children solve problems.

Last Sunday we went up to Sheridan, over an hour away, to hear Dr. Chittick, a professor and Creation expert. Jenny took her embroidery along and worked on it on the way up there.

When we got in the van to come home, Jenny hollered from one of the back seats, "Isn't anyone going to sit in the front seat?" (I was actually in the front seat but she meant the front bench seat.)
No one seemed to want to. We asked her why it mattered. She said,

Quote of the Day:
"Because I lost my needle and I was hoping someone would sit on it so I'd know where it was."


  1. another dorcas9/23/2009 4:21 AM

    I think you are spot on with these observations. I don't know whether it would be boring to have kids who think before they do anything, but I surely know it isn't boring when they don't think! And Jenny's lost needle just made my day!

  2. I am so glad that FINALLY someone is teaching the truth about food and children. Our youngest is 10 so I can say this. Have only "real" food (anything nutritious) in the house in the first place and trust your child's good sense to know when he's full. There are too many overweight adults as a result of having to "clean up your plate, honey, then you can have desert."
    I agree, God's grace is mostly it for having godly children.

  3. Rosy from Plain City9/23/2009 8:04 AM

    Oh Dorcas, Jenny's problem solving skills made my day! You are so right that quite alot of parenting success is a result of God's grace and mercy! John and I just bumbled along to and I am continually amazed at the wonderful adults masquerading as our children that come through this house!

  4. I am a mother of 4, and have children who act, then think. It keeps life interesting and parents humble. I have a friend who has 4 angelic children, but most days, I prefer my own!

    The QOTD was a CLASSIC!!! Jenny is loaded with personality!

  5. I love this and laughed out loud at your QOTD.
    It's so comforting to know that there are successful parents out there that also felt like they were bumbling along because most of the time I don't have a clue if I'm doing the right thing or not with my rambunctious boys who don't even seen to think AFTER they act sometimes.
    I love 'em though and wouldn't trade them for any quiet and proper children in the world. (Most times.)

  6. I think most of us who "bumble along" probably rely on God's grace more than those who "know how to do it". Maybe God rewards that! Pauline

  7. I'm so relieved to hear that I'm not the only one in the WORLD who doesn't want the supper table to turn into an unfriendly, unhappy, dreaded battle ground. I've been around sooooo many disapproving parents lately who seem shocked that I let my kids sample the new food, but then decide to eat only their familiar favorites instead. I don't cook seperate meals; I just make sure I have some "safe" food along with the new, "adventurous" food. I've been feeling like maybe I'm not being a good parent...now I think maybe we should all just do our best and not hyper focus on minor differences. Whew! What a relief.

  8. Hmmm. I really never thought anyone wanted dinner to be unhappy- I meant I thought I was the only wimpy parent who didn't insist on their children eating things they didn't like. =)

  9. I've seen both extremes of parents relating to children on food. My parents made us eat something of EVERYTHING, regardless. Most of the times there was no issue. However, I tend to feel that if a child almost gags over something EVERY TIME, then it's time to back off and let them skip it. (That's me and liver! You won't find any liver in my house since there's no one else to eat it!)

    The other extreme . . . letting the children pick away at the good, nutritious food, refusing to eat hardly any, but then being allowed to eat a good-sized helping of rich deserts that aren't good for anyone.

    I think if they aren't willing to eat decent helpings of first course, then the desert should be skipped. If the parent gave too much of first course, then don't make the child pay for it. But don't give them a huge helping of desert if they couldn't finish first course. Just a little bit should be all they have room for if they couldn't eat anymore of first course.

    Okay, now I've spoken my mind, like a single can since she doesn't have any children to prove her theory wrong!:-)

  10. I never did have much time or respect for the "have it all together crowd" and have secretly wished as I abserved some perfect looking familys that there would be at least be one in the family that would mix things up a little and give the fake answere from the can parents a little testing (gasp) And one of things that keeps all your readers faithfully devouring your stories right to the end is that one never knows how the story will end needle in the van seat prime example.=)

  11. Dorca I purchased 2 books of yours last Sat. after Library Tea & 1 of Emily's. read it quickly, before giving it to my almost 12 yr old granddaughter who devours books. She read it the first day, loved it. Pass this along to Emily. My granddaughter has some on going health issues & she could relate to Emily & loved her spirit and personality. Me too,,,,,Jo Dodd