Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How do You Handle This?

We’re in the middle of one of those parenting challenges. The ones where you shake your head and send up non-stop prayers. Or as my husband said, “Are you ready to move?”

Unfortunately, in today’s world, I’m not sure where we could move to protect our kids. And the reality is that today’s world is very different from the world my grandparents grew up in and even changed from the times of my childhood.

All I want to do is shelter my children from ideas and things they aren’t ready to process. I don’t want to have to explain to my daughter why someone can’t really have two mommies. Or why we don’t endorse that. Or why it’s really no different than other sins, but still grieves the heart of God.

I would love to just avoid the issue, but I can’t. The little girl next door is Abigail’s age and they enjoy each other. But someday we’ll have to decide about sleep-overs, etc. It’s just hard.

So today, I would really love to hear how you handle worldview collisions. How do you balance the truth of God’s Word with the reality of today’s world? How do you train your children to understand what you believe and why without it tripping over into teaching them to judge others? I hope you can see how deeply I am agonizing over this. Because at the end of the day I want to handle this parenting challenge in a way that honors God and protects my children.

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At Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, Blogger Michelle Pendergrass said...

Y'know, I have lesbian friends, divorced friends, single friends, married friends, married friends who aren't good examples...

Zane's buddy's dad is Muslim and doesn't eat pork. He came to our house for New Year's Eve and I made him some stuff that he could eat. Not because I believe in Islam, but because I believe people are to be loved. His Muslim beliefs and my Christian believes collide, but they've never been an issue to any of us--we don't allow for that.

Just like my lesbian friends. They know where I stand, we've discussed the issue at length. One of them is a born again Southern Baptist who love Jesus. None of us is perfect and I would be so upset if my Muslim friend or lesbian friend didn't allow their children to visit with Zane because I believed the Bible.

What do I tell Zane? God may not approve of their choices, but there are some choices we've made that God doesn't approve of. They believe something different. That doesn't give us as a family the right to destroy them with our thoughts or words or think ourselves any better than them.

We tell him, "We do it this way because of this [explain Biblical principles], we cannot control other people's beliefs, so we respect them, but sometimes we have to see past the differences to make a difference."

At Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

For a while I mentored teen moms and my daughter helped at the meetings. She was around 10 and BOY did those girls talk about everything under the sun ... about guys, sex, etc.

Sometimes I wondered if I was ruining her forever, but in the end we had great discussions.

As we loved the sinner I discovered some of those girls learned the love of Jesus through our actions and came to Christ. Now my kids reach out to others, too.

Of course, this is backed up by a FIRM Biblical foundation.

At Tuesday, 03 April, 2007, Blogger Sherry B said...

Rather than look at these "situations" as negative, I always try to turn them to my advantage and make them learning experiences. Society is full of such bad examples...I want my kids to be prepared to deal with those...and know what is right. I've also always told my kids that they could ask ANYTHING!...as long as they weren't TOO young to know, I'd tell them. The things that kids are required to process is so much different from the mild things that I had to deal with. I'd rather my kids have me there by their side to deal with the issues instead of going on their own to try and find answers (which would most likely be in conflict with what I believe).

At Wednesday, 04 April, 2007, Anonymous Mary said...

You're in such a hard spot, my heart goes out to you! Lots of good advice so far. I just recently told my daughters about this issue. They are 9 and 6 years old. I didn't go into anatomy, and 9 yo still needs "the talk" but we were discussing Sodom and Gomorrah and feminism and it came up. Of course they were shocked...

Like Michelle, I never want my family to come across as judgemental in our relationships...like I tell my girls an anger problem is just as bad as a lying problem, or an alcohol addiction...they've all just got different consequences.

I have to admit I'm not comfortable mixing socially *with my children* with people whose lifestyles are so drastically against what I'm raising them to believe is right and Biblical. Now if it were in a ministering way, that's different (as Tricia mentioned).

I have to say, Michelle's heart is on her sleeve and I wish I was more like it. I think God gifts certain people differently...and He's still growing me!

But when you have the "talks" just remind them of how Jesus was and that verse that says "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"...and there's that one that says viewing a woman lustfully is just as bad as the act of adultery...so being judgemental really bites two ways. Logs and specks, etc.

At Wednesday, 04 April, 2007, Blogger Cara Putman said...

Thanks, you guys. Your comments have really helped. I really am trying to find the balance of letting my daughter know that we don't approve of the choice, but that we still love the people. We've already gone through this with the baby before marriage -- and she got that, so I'm hoping God will give us the grace to handle this situation in a loving way that honors Him and gives our children just as much as they need to know. It's all about need to know isn't it. And I certianly don't want to raise ostriches. The world is this way and we are to live in it without being like it. I guess if God commands that, He will provide the way, too.

At Monday, 09 April, 2007, Blogger Crystal Warren Miller said...

Cara, I know it seems like it was "safer" in we old people's day--but not. Same issues, just framed a little differently. I have a ton of examples, but that's for a private conversation.

The thing is, you have to equip your kids to handle situations, listen to their "warning bells" (and parents need to listen to their own) and find ways to graciously deal with these friendships. It is not easy--and it doesn't get any easier. My teen kids are now dealing with the same things--but they're nearly grown.

Above all, you protect your child from bad situations, while showing kindness and genuine concern, instilling your values. That's what your kids will remember most, anyway.


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