Monday, 20 September 2010

It's takes a village to raise a child

It takes a village to raise a child. The job is too big to do it alone. We weren't meant to do it alone. We were made to connect with Him and to connect with others. We are wise to create a support network around us. But what if our village that we create to support us, does more harm to our children than good?


If you haven't seen the movie, "The Village" because you thought it was a horror film, go and rent it. It is not a horror film. It is an analogy of what people do when they let fear govern their lives. As the movie unfolds, it becomes apparent that the village in the story was created out of fear, and is governed by fear. The village they were trying to create to protect those that they loved failed, because it was based on fear.

When I first started homeschooling, my 15 year old nephew had just left home and turned away from the Christian faith. I reasoned that my nephew's 'village' (his school friends) had been a bad influence for him and resolved in my heart that I would create my own village for my  boys. I tried to form friendships with other homeschooling families, whom I deemed to be 'good Christians' and that would be a good influence on my children. My motivation was fear- fear that my own children would turn away from God and reject me. My maternal instinct was to make my world smaller, controllable and wrap my boys up in a safe bubble. But by holding onto my children too tight, I risked them doing whatever they could to get out of my grasp when they grew older.


As I tried to make the world smaller for my boys, I realised that my motivation was fear. If I continued down the path of hand-picking who my children played with, I risked them rebelling against my controlling nature during their teenage years. 1 John 4 tells us that God is love (v16) and There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. Although I loved my boys deeply and my motivation was to protect them, I was acting out of fear.

I learned that God loved my boys even more than I did, and that I was not trusting Him with their future. Hiding my boys in a nice little artificial Christian bubble would not help them, but actually hinder them. Now don't get me wrong, I am not advocating letting our children hang out with whoever they want - we need to use wisdom. But what I am saying is, wrapping them up in cotton wool does not prepare them for when the time comes for them to make their own choices.

I had an invitation to a Tupperware party from a Muslim woman I had met at an indoor playground. In the past, I would have politely declined the offer, for fear that my boys might ask for play dates with her boys. (That definitely did not fit in with my nice artificial Christian bubble that I was attempting to create.) But knowing it was great opportunity for me to be salt and light to the world, and now trusting Him with my boy's futures, I accepted. It really opened my eyes to the fact that women are all the same, despite our cultural differences. It was a great chance to discuss the Islamic faith with my boys, and one I would have missed if I had been still held captive by my fear.

The village I am in now is very different to the one I tried to create myself based on fear. I trusted Him to create my village and it is so much more than I could have hoped and dreamed of. I know that if I need help, I can draw on the resources of my village. But the other thing I like about my village is that it is inclusive, not exclusive. In fact, the way I came to be a part of this village, is because the people in this village reached out to me. I know that if I invited anyone into this village, they too would be loved and accepted. This is God's design for the church. Instead of making my world smaller for my children, it has now become larger. And my heart has become enlarged because of it. I am now on the look out for others that may be looking for a village of their own.

The village I tried to create for my children out of fear was exclusive. But His village is inclusive. There is always room for more in His village.

Still taking lessons from the King,





4 comments:

  1. Hi Jo, that is brilliant. I think the greatest thing we can teach our children is to love other people, despite what their belief system is. Knowning what they believe and why is so important and living that faith amongst differences is how we learn to be like Jesus. Great post. xx

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  2. Excellent post, I am learning similar lessons in regards to my neighbourhood. I am not a fan of where I live and was challenged to stop being such a self righteous snob and actaully interact with local people and lo and behold I have struck up an acquaintace with a lady who walks past my house every day and it wasn't scary at all!!:-)

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  3. Beautifully said Jo...we were born for a wide, open spacious life...parenting is what I like to term "the delicate dance" one of continually letting go and holding on. Gradually we let go little by little so our children develop into all that they were created to be yet we still need to pursue them. Pursue their hearts, souls and minds......they still need us to lean in and lead the way. Sometimes it is two steps forward then three steps sideways. The best thing we can do for our children is to awaken them to a passionate, powerful and purposeful life. xx

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  4. Excellent post Jo! I loved the understanding you expressed about the tupperware party.

    I also loved how you said that your control now, could cause rebellion later on. That is a biggie. Guiding, guarding vs controlling. It is hard to know the difference isn't it?! Especially when a mother's heart is involved.

    I saw the movie you mentioned. I was reluctant because I thought it was a horror film too... I was told it wasn't so I went to see it at the movies. I really liked it!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo