“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I can remember sitting in the parking lot at a local pizza place in our hometown and having a “discussion” with my husband about starting a family. My sweet husband and I had only been married a year or so. We were newlyweds and we were enjoying life together. But, I had baby fever! He said to me, “You do realize that they aren’t little babies forever? You know that once we conceive a child, they are our responsibility forever?” I could have been easily offended and I’m sure I was, but he was right to say these things. It was about then that our little discussion became more of an argument. I was offended at the idea that I may not have realized these obvious facts when indeed, I needed some reminding. Not that we weren’t well suited to start a family. We were! We just needed to be on the same page. That has to be one of the most vital pieces of advice to offer a newlywed couple: BE ON THE SAME PAGE! That has continued to be true, day after day, week after week and year after year.
Our three children are 5,6 and 8 years old now. We are able to look back on that parking lot conversation and smile now as we work as a team to parent these children. Being united on how we parent is the most important thing we can do for our children. When they know that we agree, they have shown us that they are most likely to believe it themselves. If they know we are divided, then not only are confused, but they are left to their own devices because if mom and dad can’t agree, then maybe they are both wrong. Being on the same page is as important now, if not even more than it was when we made our decision to start our family.
Here is an example; Our middle child has shown a propensity toward all things right brained, creative and artsy. We are very proud of her and we desire to see her take the talents that God has given her and to use them for His Glory. It is our job, however to show her that path. In the world of creative arts, she is most influenced by things that will draw her into anything but a God centered activity. T.V. shows that showcase teenagers who do anything to get their name in lights, songs that degrade boys, slam friendships and glorify self righteous behavior are all vying for my 6 year old’s attention.
(The one discouraging side note worth mentioning here is the glaring observation of the gap between Preschool cartoons like Dora the Explorer and Tween identified content like iCarly and Victorious.)
This weekend, we had to make a decision and we chose to invite our daughter into that decision so that she could own it and believe it. The three of us sat down and we explained what lyrics were and why they were important to a song. And while we might enjoy the feel and the beat of a song, when the lyrics are hurtful or destructive it ruins the whole song and it speaks volumes about the person singing it. When she read the lyrics without the funky beat and the loud music, she saw immediately what we were talking about. This song that she had come to know by heart, mostly because she has an exceptional memory, she didn’t even realize was tearing down boys, building up self and had a very angry tone. I later over heard her explaining to her friend that she wasn’t going to be singing that song anymore and the reasons why.
That night after the kids were in bed and my husband and I were recapping the day, we looked at each other and once again remembered that parking lot conversation about starting a family. We often shake our heads and say, “Wow, what did we do?” But, we take joy because we are on the same page and parenting as a team according to God’s Word will produce a harvest of righteousness. That is our prayer.