I am currently reading Paul David Tripp’s book called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family. We were given this gift when our daughter was
Adelyn was dedicated Jan. 15, 2017
dedicated at our church. Now that I’m finished my masters, I actually feel like I have time to read it! I will start reading some other novels as well, but I figured why not start with a parenting book while she’s young! Not everyone will agree or believe everything this book says, but I thought it would be good for me to blog my way through it and share what I am learning as I go. (Also a great place to post some of the pictures I have of Adelyn just sitting on my phone!)
Currently our daughter is just about 7 months old. I started reading the book tonight, and though the chapter was already talking about behaviour, sibling fights, sports teams and academics etc. (which don’t apply to our current situation quite yet), I figured there’s no better time to learn about parenting then now. And sure enough! I was already convicted of some things in my heart that I feel I need to work on.
The Introduction’s main point was that parents can either be ambassadors or owners. Tripp explains this as your worldview about your children; do you believe they are yours to own or is your job to ‘steward’ them as gifts from God?
“Ownership parenting is motivated and shaped by what parents want for their children and from their children. It is driven by a vision of what we want our children to be and what we want our children to give us in return” (Tripp, 2016, p. 14).
This is very similar to the marriage advice he gives in his book, What Did You Expect?
He said that we often use our spouse as vehicles or obstacles to get what we want. It can be the same with our children. It becomes a user/consumer mentality.
His alternative is ambassador parenting. This is the view that our children are gifts from God and we don’t own them, but we steward them to the best of our ability.
“The only thing an ambassador does, if he’s interested in keeping his job, is to faithfully represent the message, methods, and character of the leader who has sent him” (Tripp, 2016, p. 14).
An ambassador parent’s job would be to try their best to reflect godly principles and messages to their children.
1) My identity does not come from Adelyn. Period. “Owner parents tend to look to get
‘Auntie’ Ashley having fun with some Snapchat filters!
their identity, meaning, purpose, and inner sense of well-being from their children” (p. 17). Funny how I used to find myself struggling with getting my identity from my job! Have a kid, and sure enough… that can be easily replaced by a little one. Now, I know I can take great JOY in my daughter. I can love how cute she is, how good she sleeps, how well “behaved” she is when she is tired etc. but this does not, and should not reflect my true worth. The point is, that if my worth comes from her appearance and behaviours, then I will be the most proud parent one minute, and the most discouraged, disappointed parent the next. It’s the “Saviour” complex. Looking to Adelyn to have her make or break my day is not a role she was made for. Ambassador parents are “freed from asking family life to give them life because they have found life and their hearts are at rest” (p. 18).
2) I don’t have to dread Adelyn’s awkward older years. I am a primary teacher for a reason. I love the cuteness of kids ages 3-7. I find them adorable, funny, clever, and their
Photo credit: Laura Barberis via Flickr
imaginations are magical. I’m not going to lie, I find 9-13 year olds kind of annoying. I do want to eventually teach that age group as I love that they are getting to be more independent and critical thinkers at that age. (They also behave way better for their teachers than their parents)… but to be completely honest, I find them awkward and sometimes irritating. My husband Jon and I have already joked about how those years with kids are going to be terrible.
This chapter totally convicted me of my selfish desire for my child to always be cute and funny for MY selfish wants. Owner parents “struggle with the crazy, zany phases that their children go through as they are growing up. They’re not so much concerned about what that craziness says about their children, but what it says about them” (p. 20). On the other hand, ambassador parents “have come to understand that parenting will expose them to public misunderstanding and embarrassment somehow, someway. They have come to accept the humbling messiness of the job God has called them to do” (p. 20).
Speaking of messiness…
If I am to honour Adelyn in every way that I can as her parent, I need to allow her to grow into the little human God has called her to be. I can release her from living up to my expectations, and I can try my best to impart knowledge, grace, and love to her. She is already an awesome baby DESPITE me, not BECAUSE of me. I’m doing my best, but have already had so many parenting fails! I need to remember the truth and strive to be an ambassador parent.
Just for fun share time. I keep track of many of my parenting fails in a note in my phone. It keeps me humble
Parenting fail #1
First week of parenting: I thought breastfeeding was going great! I figured she was perfectly latched and that the milk was going, I don’t know, into her mouth?
Parenting fail #2- I spelled her name wrong on the invitation to her church baby shower. Oops!
Many more fails to come! Anything connect or resonate with you? Do you struggle with ownership parenting? Comment below and share your experience!