Thursday, December 31, 2009
Parenting Tips in Literature
I don’t know how many people feel that an essential part of preparing for child birth is the re-reading of their favorite childhood books. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent hours poring over Dr. Sears’ Baby Book; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Real Boys; Gender Matters; and The Happiest Baby on the Block. I am nothing if not practical and I want to get “it” right—whatever “it” is.
However, on this the last day of 2009, I spent the morning smiling and crying over the adventures of Anne of Green Gables. And, through the lens of impending motherhood, it occurred to me that my desire to spend time immersed in the worlds of authors such as Kipling and Montgomery comes from a place of dreaming and hoping for this baby. I want him to weep over the death of Matthew and feel the tension as Anne walks the ridge pole. I want him to laugh over silly elephant child and the cake crumbs that itched the rhinoceros so terribly.
I have found myself fretting over how to raise this child with the kind of love, gentleness and appreciation for beauty (and story) that I feel important. I have also worried myself over teaching him graciousness and “good manners”—as well as everything else he needs to know. I make rules: about bedtime and screen time, about washing up and dinner prayers. There is so much he will need to know and so much we will need to teach—I want to bring him up well and I want him to be a credit to himself and to his family. I want him to love God and his neighbor and to nourish kindness in the cradle of his being. A daunting task…
But, in my reading I came across a parenting tip from the quiet and unassuming Matthew Cuthbert—“As it was, he was free to “spoil Anne”—Marilla’s phrasing—as much as he liked. But it was not such a bad arrangement after all; a little “appreciation” sometimes does quite as much good as all the conscientious “bringing up” in the world.”
So my prayer for 2010 is that I will be able to embrace the role of appreciator as well as bringer upper—that I will laugh and cry more and that I will learn what I need to allow this child to grow into exactly the person God means him to be. And, yes, we will spoil him in exactly the ways a child needs to be "spoiled".
And, now, I need to learn how to bake a birthday cake from scratch before this baby comes.