I just had a sudden realization that when Isla was born, I didn't just become a Mom, I became a Parent... that is a scary prospect for me! Plus, I haven't really read any books on parenting since I found out I was pregnant... also a scary prospect. How can I ever do anything if it hasn't first been published with detailed instructions by someone? :)
Luckily for me, I am smart enough to know that I am NOT very wise, and I like to surround myself with friends that I look up to. For instance, my best friend Emily is always a model of patience, commitment - if she says she'll do something, she does it, and she always sees the best in people. Not be particularly virtuous in any of those areas, I'm glad that I have someone to model them to me.
When it comes to parenting, I have a friend Lacey, who I think is one of the best moms that I know. She gave me the best advice on being a parent. The first is to "Parent Deliberately", know what you are doing any why. Think through the messages you send to your kids with your actions. The second was this, "Set out your goals for your children, obviously you have to be flexible, but know what you want for them!"
What a concept! Set goals... I remember reading a few years back that just having a goal, whether it be about finances or personal achievement made people tend to be more successful in those areas even if they weren't actively trying to achieve those goals. Plus, this is right in line for me, since I tend to be very goal oriented. I plan to "Train up Isla in the way she should go..."
These are my goals for little Isla:
- I hope that when she is older that she loves the LORD, her God, with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. This means that I have to model this behavior to her. Am I good at modeling this behavior? Not really... but I have to be diligent about abiding in Him all day and every day, so that Isla sees that in me.
- I hope that Isla grows up to respect herself, and to not tolerate boys that do not respect her. My husband can model this by treating me and Isla respectfully, by being courteous and gentlemanly. Nick always opens my doors for me, even 5 years into our marriage, and I try to act like a Lady for him.
- I would like for Isla to marry a Godly man, and to not date until she is in college. I want her to marry a man that is worthy of her, who courts her and pursues her, and who treats her like the Princess that she is. I plan to share with her all of the stories of Nick and mines courtship. It was a magical time in my life, and I thank God for providing me with a husband who thought that I was worthy of his time and attention. Nick can reinforce this by going out of his way to spend time with her, to show her that she is worthy of his time and attention while she is in our home, and she should accept no less once she leaves it.
- I would like for Isla to have some idea of the direction she wants her life to take by 18, and to be self sufficient by the time she graduates college. I want her to go through life without debt, and Nick and I can help her with these things by providing her with a college education and a good start.
- I want Isla to know how beautiful she is! That she is "fearfully and wonderfully made". I want her to not judge her beauty by the images that she sees on TV. I will do my very best to not criticize my own looks or fret about my weight. I do not want her to model that behavior. From now on I will accept a complement with a "Thank you!" and not a self-deprecating response. Nick can also reinforce this by telling her how precious and beautiful she is to him and to Him each and every day.
Of course I have secondary goals that are just personal wishes... for example I would be delighted if she were politically conservative and also an engineer :), but those are what really matter! I love this little treasure from God and I am so thankful for her. She deserves nothing by my love and for me to bring my "A-Game" every second that I spend with her!
While I was out the other day, I saw that James Dobson has released "Bringing Up Girls", which I promptly bought and I am reading it right now. Funny how since I had a baby it takes me so much longer to finish books? I'll write a quick review once its done...