Parenting Priorities and a Book Review

I am no seasoned veteran when it comes to parenting. My oldest child is only two. So, really, I am not trying to advise other parents here, just share my view.

In recent weeks I have been thinking about my goal as a parent.

I find it so common for mothers to want to raise “advanced” children. They’re babies have to know their colors by 18 months, talking in sentences by 20 months, and reading by age 3. I hear about moms and dads like this; they often focus on the cognitive and academic milestones of their children. They spend hours and hours researching games and strategies to help their child learn and understand concepts very early, and then they spend hours on top of that executing what they research. It’s exhausting. And all the while, the parent(s) are spending much of their time, energy, and mental capacity on the future of their child.

Some parents focus on physical milestones. Is my child walking? Can they run? Will they be a famous baseball player. Parents focused on these aspects of their child’s development often spend less time up front concentrating only on their child. They do, though, often invest a lot of their psychological and emotional well-being on the success of their child. (Not to say that the previous type of parent doesn’t.) These parents spare no expense at helping Junior get the best training and exercises, playing on the best teams, getting the best coaches, etc. so he can really succeed in life. And, of course, give mom and dad the glory.

There are some Christian moms that say they want to raise Godly children. They focus a lot of time and attention on showing their children who God is, reading bible stories to them, and doing activities that reinforce biblical stories and themes. Though this sounds like a noble goal, these parents (read: moms) often find themselves heartbroken and disappointed when their child doesn’t accept the Lord the way they were expected to and Junior ends of leaving the church and the faith all together. Mom and dad feel as though they can personally lead their child to Christ, but are often ultimately disappointed when that falls through.

None of the above are mine and my husband’s personal parenting philosohpy.
Let me stop for a moment to assure you that we do read to our girls, teach them things, take them outside to run around, and teach them about God. I will repeat, though: None of these things are our focus.
Right now, with two toddlers, our focus is obedience and treating others with respect. With two sisters so close, it’s easy to imagine the slapping, pinching, toy-stealing, and other daily atrocities that may go on in our house. Not to mention blatant disobedience of either parent while attempting to get a “second opinion” after receiving an undesired response from one parent. Our daughters may be young, but we believe a child is never too young to learn that they are not the center of the universe; life doesn’t revolve around them.
Obviously, having two children makes this a bit easier.
By focusing on humbling our girls and teaching them that others should be treated with respect, kindness, and love and that elders should be obeyed I feel that all other things will follow.
If our children can obey us, they can obey God.
If they can be kind to one another, they can be kind to non-believers.
If they can respect one another, they can learn to respect future friends and husbands. (One for each, preferably ;-P)
If they can love one another, they can show God’s love to the world.

And that, my friends, is my segue to an awesome book review that I am so privileged to do here on Domesticated Physicist.
I recently received The Beginner’s Bible: Jesus Shows God’s Love (” title=”get it on Amazon”>) to peruse, read to my girls, and review.
Ok, so by recently I mean I received it just before we left for the great north for Christmas.
But man was that an awesome Christmas gift.
This book is not a true children’s bible, necessarily; instead, it gives highlights throughout Jesus’ life of how He showed love to others around Him.
Each page had a few sentences with a large colorful picture depicting a scene in Jesus life. Allow me:
This had to be my *favorite* page in the entire book. This illustration’s caption is: “John also baptized people. He said, “Get ready! The Lord is on his way!”
Why do I love this picture so much? Because this is EXACTLY how I picture John the baptist when I read the gospel of Matthew. Rugged, with dirty toes, lots of hair and a giant beard with a slightly wild look in his eye. Perfection.
But aside from my love for this book, I found that Madeline loved it, as well. The pictures were drawn in a very kid-friendly way. She was able to pick out and understand the theme on each page (for the most part), just by examining the drawing. I think she also liked hearing the many small instances in Jesus’ life when He loved on others. Many children’s bibles (the ones we have, for example) often skip over some of the lesser miracles and healings that Jesus performed to leave room for the major events in His life. This book filled in some of those lovely details.
She may just love looking at the illustrations, too.
I found this book to be a great addition to our Christian children’s book library. It’s message was very clear and easy to understand for a young preschooler, and the pages were colorful and exciting enough to keep the attention of both of our girls.
My only complaint about this book is that it is paperback. At this young age, especially with Clara around, I tend to prefer board books. This book just requires adult supervision when the littlest one is around.

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