Wednesday 14 July 2010

raising our children in community? - a conversation

I love how blogs can become amazing conversations between God's children. Recently, Eric at A Pilgrim's Progress wrote a post, "It Doesn't Take a Village... It Takes a Family." Although I didn't post a comment at the time, I couldn't get his posting out of my mind, and finally, I wrote about it here at my own blog, under the title, it takes a family to raise a child? or a church? or a village? or?.

Then I got a comment from Dan, and I responded, and he responded ... and we agreed that I would post the exchange as he would like to be able to share the link with some other people. So here we are: (You may want to read my initial posting first - the link listed just above - and even Eric's post - linked at the top of this post - which started the whole conversation!)....

Dan, at The Ekklesida in Southern Maine wrote in response:

My wife and I have very young children (all 3 are under 3 years old) and we have started asking ourselves these questions, since they will be exposed to outside influences very soon we want to deal with that as best we can. This is why we want to start really pursuing and becoming a part of the community of believers. We also wonder, as you talk about in your post, what we do about those we disagree with. Do we try to hide their ideas from our kids? don't let them listen to certain music? don't let them learn about evolution in school? don't let them watch that program or read that book? we want to raise them to be smart critically-thinking people who can deal with problems when we aren't there to protect them. We don't really know what to do exactly and are very open to hearing how others have done it.

Thanks for sharing this post!


And I answered:

Tough questions. Our 5 children spent a lot of their growing-up years in a community where often we were very alone as believers. We had many close relatives there who weren't believers, as well. It really was impossible to hide our kids from the world around them. So we really did try to "raise them to be smart critically-thinking people..." I ended up homeschooling our last 3 years there - and we spent a lot of that time honestly delving into those issues.

We finally moved when our kids got into their teens. We went to a "better" community - and I suppose I wish I could say that everything went perfectly after that. It didn't (you can read about it at my blog A Mother's Journey), though it certainly became an amazing adventure with Father.

Our kids are grown now (all in their twenties) and we have 7 grandchildren. One of our daughters and her family are very joyfully involved in a Baptist church (she being the one who struggled most in her teens). The others don't "go to church" but I know they all believe. We still are "critically-thinking" - and praying - together, though we are scattered far and wide.

When they were young, I hoped they would all grow up and be Christians and go to church. When we went through those teen years, I really came to know Father, and my prayers changed - that they too would come to know Father, and would come to joyfully be part of His family, in His plan and purpose for each of them. I see that happening, day by day, step by step. It's a long process, a convoluted journey, definitely an adventure with many unexpected twists and turns - it's surely not a tidy package.

But always God is in the center of it. I have had to let Him take over "responsibility" for my kids. And I have peace.

My own de-traditional-church-ing in my own journey with Father has been a part of it. It has seemed that the more I myself have been able to let go of "going to church," the more open my children have become to Father ("church" became a real problem for them - some very bad experiences along the way... as it has been for my husband also, who is First Nations and was sent by the Canadian government to a church-run residential school).

I am delighted to see my chldren and my Heavenly Father growing in relationship together. (It's improved my relationship with them too).

I AM looking for a "community of believers" here... but I guess I am kind of skittish, terrified of being dragged back into "churchianity" ... and my many "church friends" are pretty much avoiding me - I guess maybe I am seen as apostate or something. My closest brothers and sisters now are local street people who have come to know Jesus! We eat and visit together, and talk about Jesus. That's church, isn't it!

But then I find myself struggling with thinking that church should be more! I guess the old ways are still clutching to me.

Wow! This is way more than a "comment in return." Maybe I should re-post it as a post. Would you mind if I do that, starting with your comment, and then following with mine?

I would love to see this become a conversation among many.


And Dan then said:


Thanks for sharing your insights!

I like that you seem to emphasize that a relationship with God is the most important element in the Spiritual growth of our children... I hope to foster that within my family.

I had always understood that the amount I was involved in institutional church reflected my relationship with God. It is still hard to shake those ideas. I catch myself making judgments about others based on this false notion!

I grew up knowing all about close knit community, it was not necessarily a community of believers, but it was a community that cared for each others' families. These people played a huge role in my development and understanding of the world. I pray that I can be part of a Christ centered community that will influence my kids as much as the community I grew up in influenced me!

I would love for you to share our conversation as a post. I was hoping you would as I read through your comment so I could share a link with some other people I think would be interested.



Won't you join in? Looking forward to your comments!


Mark said...


You're right, that IS what church is! Church is just being the body, supporting each other, loving each other, sharing the Christ in us with each other. I am excited to hear about your children coming closer to Father as you move further from "church". That is not surprising. Kids know truth when they see it, and the community you are now involved in has so much more depth and reality than what we all came from. I imagine that the future holds much more for that community, even as small as it may seem now, and I'll bet He uses you greatly to accomplish His purpose!

Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

Thank you for your comment, Mark. It really encouraged me because I've felt like I'm not really "contributing" ... guess I'm still thinking in the old "programmed" ways sometimes... in those ways perhaps it is easier to "measure success" according to the world's ways of measuring, and maybe, being used to that, I feel "unsuccessful"! But it isn't about my success at all, it's what Father is doing - and you helped me see that! Thank you! Glory to Father!