He wanted to put his skates on at home. For some reason he had it in his head that it would be completely embarrassing to have the other kids see him getting help from his dad. Plus, he had to borrow some thick, woolly socks from me, and they had little flowers on them. I think that was part of it.

But he wore his boots and carried his skates when we went to the rink for the family fun night (free skating and hot chocolate, followed by fireworks). Pure, small town entertainment. And he and his dad found a spot on the bench, and together they got his skates on and laced, tight.

 

 

 

And it makes me wonder … what is it about me, in my humanity, that makes me so concerned about what others are thinking? How much time have I spent worrying about whether someone else thinks I am a good mother? That’s a big one. Why do I bother?

I’m reading a book for our book club called NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, and I’m having a bit of a hard time with it. I suppose it’s bringing out some mother-guilt in me. It’s challenging some of my parenting ideas. I’m struggling with that “if you don’t do it right, you will mess up your kids” message that, in my insecurity, I am so willing to listen to. Or, even worse, the “you did it wrong and your kids will never recover” message.

The back cover blurb describes this book as offering:

… a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library’s worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring – because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn, and live.

I’ve been a parent for almost seventeen years. That certainly does not make me an expert. I’ve read a lot of books and implemented a lot of things. I’ve reread and highlighted and scribbled in my favourite books. As a mom, I’ve done a few things right and many things wrong. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that theories come and go. Science changes it’s mind, over and over again. And for me, what it comes down to, ultimately, is me (mom) working through relationship issues with my children.

Having a relationship with each one of my children is my primary parenting goal. And then, out of that relationship, both they and I grow and mature and are continually transformed into, hopefully, the people God would like us to be.

I’m not saying NurtureShock doesn’t have some interesting things to say. Much of it resonates with me. I just have a tiny problem with promoting a parenting-by-science approach. Because, like I said, science changes it’s mind. Often. Studies have limitations. New studies bring new ideas. What we were told to do one year is challenged the next year. It’s a roller coaster.

Next week our book club meets to discuss NurtureShock. I’m looking forward to hearing what the other women  think of it all.

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