On raising happy kids...


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

As you probably noticed, I was away from my computer for a few days, as Dan and I welcomed the fall season at the annual Evans Family Reunion. Held in a quaint little cluster of cabins in Greenbrier State Forest, West Virginia, this year’s reunion included 15 adults, ten children, and three dogs. (Dan is the youngest of six.) We had such a great time that we are still trying to recover from all the fun…and allergens/germs (sniff, sniff).

[For those who asked, the photo from the last post was taken just outside our cabin last year. ]

As you can imagine, spending this much time with family inevitably leads to conversations about raising children. In fact, Dan and I spent a good part of the drive home time talking about the environment in which he grew up, the different ways in which his brothers and sisters have adopted, adapted, or changed some of those original traditions as they develop their own parenting styles, and how we planned to bring up our kids—should we ever get around to having them!

I thought I’d let you weigh in on some of the questions we asked ourselves.

1.  How do you raise your children to be people of faith without either indoctrinating them to the point that they cannot think for themselves on the one hand or leaving them without a solid foundation on the other? How do you help your children have confidence in their faith tradition and in what they believe when you, as a parent, have questions and doubts of your own? (One of the reasons I feel nervous about having children is because I still haven’t resolved these questions in my mind.)

2. What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? (Dan was homeschooled his entire life; I went to a private elementary school and a public high school.)

3. What do you think about family devotion time?

4. What’s your take on the “Baby Wise” technique? (We had a fun conversation with Dan’s brother and his wife about this controversial method, and I knew that if I mentioned it on the blog I was bound to get a few comments on it!)

5. What parenting techniques did you grow up with and continue to purposefully practice with your children? Which techniques did you purposefully do away with?

These questions are deliberately open-ended…as I need you guys to carry the conversation for the next day while I catch up on email and continue to get reacquainted with my neti pot.

Feel free to simply answer the questions you feel most strongly about. 

Also, since we rarely talk about parenting on this forum, I thought I’d ask if you have any favorite so-called “Mommy Blogs.” Mine are the ones that touch on both family and faith, or the ones that are just really well-written. Among them are: Another Gray HairConversion DiaryElizabeth Esther, and Milk Breath and MargaritasWhat are yours?

Get ready to put your theological hats back on later in the week for a post that asks, "Is the gospel relative?"

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