Thursday, April 25, 2019

#parentingtruth No. 15 - Be Different!

parenting, childhood, unique families, be yourself

In a world where there are a million people telling you the right way to do something, today’s #parentingtruth is here to encourage you to skip the ordinary life and be different!

Why are we obsessed with being normal anyway? Does it go back to our own adolescent insecurities? Perhaps. Do you remember anyone during your middle school years telling you to be normal? Maybe the word in your mind was popular. Are we as parents still trying to win a popularity contest? If you find yourself muttering at this point, then it is time to take a hard look at what motivates your parenting choices. Normal is a setting on a dryer, or at best, it is an average. We are called to be so much more than average. Our lives should not be normal, or ordinary, but rather extraordinary, regardless of our circumstances!

When we choose to live our lives differently than the world around us, we need to check our motives. Without this step we might find ourselves trying to be different as a form of rebellion. Instead, hopefully, we can choose to parent differently than our neighbors, or even our own extended family because OUR family is unique. When you focus your parenting style on what makes your family unique, you end up having more fun, spending more time with your children, and enjoying life more.

No family is perfect, but you can find the perfect groove for your own family by varying the parts of your life to fit your family’s specific needs. If someone is allergic to milk, you can choose to make specific meals just for them, or you can choose to live a dairy-free family lifestyle. Either option regards the needs of that person, but how you live it out should depend on what works best in your household.

This is your family, and your life. It is OK to be different, because your family is different. I have two daughters, you may have two or three sons. You might have six children while your next door neighbor only has one. There will be similarities to how we all raise our children, but there should also be differences. If you are not trying to keep up with the Joneses, or worse yet, trying to be the Joneses, you can enjoy those unique quirks that make your family special.

Along the way you will hopefully find some family friends who aren’t afraid to be different from the crowd. They are probably different than you, and that makes them even more valuable. These differing viewpoints can help you walk the road of being different, without being scary, or forgetting to teach your children the important lesson of valuing each person and their choices. When our children grow up surrounded by a variety of faces and personalities, they become much better balanced adults. They learn how to ask meaningful questions when getting to know someone new, and they become interested in learning even more about the world around them.

For those of us parents who are Christians, we are called to live a life set apart. That does not mean that we stay away from the world, it means that we teach our children how to life a meaningful life in this world. It means we teach them how to serve others. It means we show them the love of Jesus and then help them shine that light to the people around them. Living a life set apart means being different - in a good way! In Matthew 5:16, Jesus told His followers: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

It is ok to be different! Keep loving your family, and keep gathering friends who want to live extraordinary lives as well!

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