BY COREY WADE
One of the things that I love most about my church is that all the young families are more than willing to take other people’s children into the “Big Service” for worship before the kids are dismissed for children’s church, while their parents are working in the nursery, worship team, etc. They do not need to worry about watching their children and trying to perform their duties.
It is in this context that the following conversation happened to one of my poor friends as he watched my daughter and she took the church-kid-abusing-the-system loophole up to 11:
Janice Eicholtz | @JanJanMom
Recently, I attended a baby shower. As I was putting the finishing touches on the gift and signing the card, I signed as usual: Love, Erik, Janice & girls. Only this time, I thought about it. I wondered how much longer I would write my kids' names on my cards. What is the grace period before young adults are expected to be in charge of gifting others on their own? Of course, this led to me thinking about this era of delayed adulthood. What benefit is it to delay adulthood? Is it so that we parents can save face? "Well, I know my kid did (insert terrible action), but he is only 20...that is really still just a child."
Do we really benefit from a society that is not expected to mature until they are 30? I see teenagers from the ages of 13-19 on a daily basis. Some of them don't even have the discipline to put their trash in the trash can. They just drop it on the floor. Why? Parents are too tired and stressed out to take the time to teach their children how to clean and maintain. They choose to do it themselves. So, a whole group of folks are not picking up after themselves AND they are EXPECTING OTHERS to do it for them. Adulthood should start in the teen years. Messages of old are not being passed along to our teens as they used to be. For my own amusement, I'm going to review some of my favorite advice.
Janice Eicholtz | @janjanmom
The other day as I was out and about, I overheard a snippet of conversation. It was a grown-up asking a teenager what his mom did for a living. "She doesn't work outside the home," the teen replied. "So, she just stays at home," stated, matter-of-factly, was the reply. I won't tell you the gender of the person who said it. I won't tell you how deeply it rocked my faith in people. I won't even go into great detail about how quickly I bristled and how my eyes rolled. Instead, I will relay a little bit about the years when I "just stayed home".
My parents divorced when I was three, so I did not get to experience life with my mom being a full-time homemaker. BUT, it was pretty common in those days for men to be about making a living and women to be about making a home. In fact, modern day society often chuckles at the antiquated and stereotypical magazine articles and advertisements directed at women from that era. I hate that. Feminism should include the freedom to be a full-time mom. It should be a choice that is valued, not ridiculed. The choice to be a working mom should also be valued. There is no right or wrong-both choices come with their own perks, right along with the choice to not have children (and-gasp-sometimes, still be a homemaker!). Women need to lavish support and hold the judgment towards other women! We are all in this game of life together. Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to encourage one another DAILY lest we become hardened by sin's deceit.
Janice Eicholtz | @janjanmom
My real job is a substitute teacher. I love it so much. There are so many diverse and wonderful teenagers at the school where I work. I'm just the right mix of thoughtful and sarcastic for this job to be a good fit. The kids often ask me questions. Today, they were talking about parenting. I said, "Don't do it, it's all a big trick. You pour your heart and soul into them and they reject everything you teach them and hate you. They never express love or gratitude and they don't even like you." Then, I said I was just kidding and they should have a whole bunch of kids in order to offset all the idiots having kids or we will only have idiot kids running the world.
Mostly, I am totally joking. But, every good joke has a kernel of truth.
Janice Eicholtz | @JanJanMom
When my kids were babies, all I could think about was meeting their needs, keeping us all fed and getting as much sleep as possible. I also tried to keep us all bathed and showered... daily was the goal, but I can't say that we always achieved it. I was also attempting to manage our household. I didn't believe it could all be so hard. I couldn't wait until the kids could talk and tell me what they needed. I couldn't wait until they could walk and not have to be packed.
Later, I would learn how easy babies were when I had to clear the house of anything breakable from the waist down and suspect any and all silence. I lived for naptime when I could hopefully get a quick shower and not be exclusively in charge of keeping a tiny person from harming themselves whilst exploring the environment. It was so much harder than having a baby, or so my now experienced mom brain would think. I couldn't wait until they could really think, write, and communicate effectively. I was especially excited for kids that could get in and out of the car on their own.
I kept thinking that each age would get easier and then discovering that each age was, in fact, harder than the last. Fast forward to now -- two grown-up teens, eighteen and nineteen, plus one not quite grown at fourteen. This is what I thought would be NIRVANA... kids that can be left by themselves, drive, work, and really help around the house. It would be easy as pie.
But, alas, there is no pie.
Jeff Weddle | @Anti_Itcher
I am a father of three children. Over the years of their lives I have witnessed many of their sins. Some were pretty bad. Others were, don’t tell them, pretty funny. One of their major sins has been, and is, their constant annoyance of each other.
It gets a little ridiculous. “Stop it!” must be said in my house 1,364 times a day. Eventually, their mother and I get worn down. We don’t want to hear “stop it!” any more. The kid who says “stop it!” the 1, 365th time will get in trouble.
“Stop it!” My wife will yell in all serious irony. “Stop bugging each other.”
After, days, nay, weeks, nay, months of kids yelling “stop it!” all the time, I got discouraged. I must be a bad father. So, any time I feel like my parenting is failing, I sit my kids down for a lecture.
Kevin Welborn | @theKevinWelborn
Parenting is rewarding and frustrating. Your kids can raise your blood pressure like no other. But, if someone mistreats your kids in the slightest manner, you will exact swift revenge with the heat of ten thousand suns. Some punk kid innocently had his arm on my oldest daughter’s shoulder last night at AWANA. He is currently under surveillance. In his kindergarten classroom. Learn the verses and keep your hands to yourself, chump!
Kids are strange creatures, but I think that is only because they are human. The odd behavior is his or her humanity, not the kiddy-ness. I called for my daughters four times to get their shoes on two hours ago. They acted like they never heard me. I once opened a candy wrapper fifty yards away and they both came running. It never fails.
Perhaps the greatest challenge in communication between parent and child is that you do not think alike or understand (or remember) what it is like to be the other party. I know I was a regular kid at 5 years old, but 5-year-old Kevin thought he really had it together and the insistence from my parents to do certain things was a hindrance to my agenda for that day.