“They are the children God has graciously given…” ~ Genesis 33:5b
My classes had been winding down and I’d been thinking about the stack of non-fiction books I have that I’d like to read. One on baptism, one on Rwanda, another on a Christian research study… but that day God told me loud and clear that my top priority in self education right now is to be my children.
Truthfully, this is hard for me. When I get a few moments alone to myself at nap time, the last thing I want to read is a book on child rearing. I would much rather read one of my other books on something completely unrelated. However, I’ve learned it is not wise to ignore a direct leading from God. So now my reading list looks like it will be Love and Logic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D., Wild Things- the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas, and Parenting Beyond your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof.
Another way I like to self educate that’s a little easier is by following blogs. The encouragement and good ideas I get from them cannot be over stated. I have several I follow because I get something different from each one. My current favorites are LisaJoBaker.com (aka: The Gypsy Mama), Gracefullmama.com, SacredMundane, and Momastery.com. Even if these don’t speak to you, trying to find some that do can be a great resource!
I don’t always have time to keep up with even my favorite blogs, so my very favorite way to self-educate is through friends. Friendships with other mothers are priceless! It doesn’t matter if they are in the same stage of life or not. In Oklahoma City and Hawaii I had my stay at home mom friends who I could get together with during the week for play dates. I am just now really appreciating the full value of those friends now that I haven’t found a group like that here yet. That little bit of time to rest and talk with other mamas while my children played was a huge stress relief for me, and I often came away from my play dates with many ideas to try for problems I had. Even just hearing “I understand!” was a huge help.
Then there’s my mentor mamas. These are my mom friends who have/are successfully parenting their children. Their kids may be full grown or just a few years ahead, but when I find parents whose children are examples of what I hope for my kids, then I ask them to be a mentor parent to me. The advice I receive from these mamas I treasure. One, because I can see that it’s been successful in the past, and two, in both cases of my mentor mamas, I know it comes from someone who loves me and my children very much. I only have a few right now, but you can be sure as I continue on this parenting journey, I’ll keep my eyes open for more.
If you haven’t taken advantage of any of these self-educating resources yet, I encourage you do so. Even if you don’t have time for reading, finding strong Christian friends to walk along beside you on this parenting journey can be the best resource of all.