One of our most frequently asked questions is… what’s the age range of your children? Currently we have a span of 18 years from oldest to our youngest who is 2 (Of course that is set to change near the end of May with the arrival of our 12th child – a little girl).
With the age span of our children we have the unique opportunity to parent a wide variety of life experiences, situations and developmental phases all at once. While one is learning to roll over another is learning to drive. While one is finishing preschool another is finishing high school. Two are still in diapers while two are beginning to date! We sometimes have overlapping first time experiences, for instance; as Ashlin entered college for the first time last fall, Evalin entered High School. At the same time, Trezdin entered Jr. High for the first time, while Prestin made his entrance into Kindergarten!
Ashlin (18), Jaylin (17), Evalin (15), Madelin (14), Irelin (9), Brealin (8)
Trezdin (12), Prestin (6), Keegin (5), Cohin (3), Riehlin (2)
Parenting all of these phases and situations isn’t easy, there are times when we wish we could use a “one size fits all” approach to parenting but that doesn’t work and in the end it won’t help our kids grow into the people God has designed them to be.
So, we cater our conversations and customize our correction. We aren’t always equal opportunity and things aren’t always “fair.”
We readily admit there is an inequity to our parenting. A “yes” to one is not a “yes” to all. Portions aren’t always equal at dinner time and bedtimes aren’t standard across the board either.
Maybe you don’t have one in diapers and one ready to graduate at the same time, but we are still in the same boat. We are all looking to raise our kids in the way that helps them discover their gifts, learn to put others first, make wise choices, establish moral boundaries and have an authentic faith of their own. We parent today with tomorrow in mind. We see the trajectory of our kids choices and our work as parents.
It is the task of parents to teach kids how to live today with tomorrow in mind. This means that we consider the cost and the benefits of both our yes’s and our no’s when it comes to the permissions and restrictions we give our kids. From time to time I (Todd) find myself being lazy – just saying “no” to my kids requests because I don’t want to think or move. Other times I say “no” out of irrational fear. Now and then I say “yes” because I don’t want to “be the bad guy.” It’s not easy but it’s my job.
I’m not perfect at parenting and my kids are not perfect either. We parent with both grace and truth and those two values are not opposing. The Bible says that God disciplines those he loves and we love our children enough to discipline them as well. If you look into the word discipline you’ll see the word disciple. Parenting is the discipleship of children.
We are all called to go into the world and make disciples and it starts at home! If you need help disciple making, reach out to us! If you need help unifying in marriage so that you can see the greater results of parenting, click the contact link… these two things are what Love Ministries are all about.
Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.
~ Proverbs 22:6 ~