Thursday, June 24, 2010

What We are Up To

Noelle is walking! I started religiously taking her to the park when I realized that she went hog wild at experimental walking when she had wood chips to fall on and other toddlers to chase around. She is also trying really hard to say things, but so far can only manage to say words that begin with the consonants "m" and "b." So "up" sounds like "bup." She's 13 months old!

Kevin is on a break from classes (he's earning a certificate in Human Resources at UCLA Extension). Only one more class to go before he's done, yay! He's also started rock climbing more and is doing this thing called "Convict Conditioning" where he is conditioning his body using old school calisthenic methods. He's been reading a variety of things on his own, but to Noelle he reads a book called "Leading Little Ones to God" that explains God's character, the human condition, and the work of Jesus Christ. For our devotions together, he's been reading the Psalms.

As for me, I am going through a stage in my life where I feel up to my eyeballs in sheer joy everyday. I wake up and can't wait to start the day as a mother and wife. I love taking Noelle to the playground, the library, to the zoo - I love coming home and watching her eat a cheese stick all by herself. I love making food for our nightly dinner, then consuming and watching my family consume the dinner with gusto and enjoyment. Right now I am also going through another educational stint on parenting. I am reading Proverbs and just raking it for any wisdom on parenting. There is really so much parenting advice out there in the world - much of it good, and unfortunately, a whole lot of it TERRIBLE. What do you do when there are books and books full of manmade advice on how to raise your child, advice that contradicts and conflicts with each other? Well, you read the Proverbs and you pray for wisdom, of course!

"If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Prov. 2:4-6

I am learning that there is a load of parenting advice out there aimed at the behavior of children. How to manage it, how to modify it, how to control it. How tempting for a young Christian parent to want to reduce parenting to something as simple as behavioral modification. Is my job really only about keeping my child "in line"? Especially (ahem) at church, at the grocery store, in a nice restaurant? The answer is a resounding NO. But what will people think when my child can't sit still at church, throws a tantrum in the checkout line at Target (and on and on go my man-fearing thoughts...).

I am positive that God has so much more for me as a mother than what I just mentioned above. So far, just reading the first three books of the Proverbs has already blown my little mind. For instance, the writer says to his son, "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck" (Prov. 1:8-9). Already a beautiful vision of motherhood is developing right before my eyes: that of teaching and instructing my child, not just manipulating her behavior through spanking, time-outs, or what-have-you every time she disobeys or misbehaves. My job is to teach wisdom and pray that the child receives it and builds internal character that will take her into a fruitful adulthood: "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you" (Prov. 2:10-11). What a high-calling!! Pray for me.