Parenting and the church

I’m still thinking about the current wars over parenting. (See previous post.) I’m thinking that another reason I’m relieved to be at the sidelines now is that I remember the pressure to be a good mother. I don’t mean good as in good enough, but good as in nearly perfect. There was no end of experts, advice-givers, and subtly critical other parents (to whom we subtly returned the favour) around us. We were in thrall of, or resisting, our own upbringings. There was also the stern voice of the inner critic, and the noisy voices of children who didn’t necessarily want to be raised our way. We were influenced by all these “best answers” coming at us from every direction; how could we not have been?

I suspect it’s still this way. But here’s the point I want to make, and perhaps it’s still true too: some of the biggest pressure on parents came from within the church. Continue reading

Parenting wars

There’s a fresh skirmish going on in the wars over parenting, provoked by Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I’ve not read the book, but I did read the excerpt (with its unfortunate title), “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” carried in the Wall Street Journal, as well as reviews and commentary. The WSJ article, said the editors, generated tens of thousands of responses. No doubt about it, people take very seriously their beliefs about the best way to parent!

As I hear the frenzy around Chua and her book, I feel profound relief. Why? Because I don’t have to get worked up about it. I’m done. You only get one run at each child in the family, and for better or worse, I’ve had my turn. I don’t mean that I no longer have a role in my adult children’s lives. But, for me, child-raising is finished. Continue reading