Monday, September 12, 2011

Spirit-Led Parenting : Foundations of our Philosophy

This week, Megan and I would love to share with you some of the foundational beliefs that have inspired and motivated this book. (Some of you long-time followers of Megan's blog, SortaCrunchy, may recognize these thoughts from a post that came near the beginning of another discussion series a couple of years ago!)

We want to state once again, as Megan did in our last discussion post, that we are not in any way attacking parents who have chosen different approaches to parenting their babies. Parents whom we know and dearly love have found great success in practicing the methods set forth by books such as On Becoming Babywise and other similar parenting philosophies, and we would never condemn any parent for lovingly and thoughtfully choosing to follow what works for them as a family in their unique set of circumstances.

Today we are setting forth the foundational beliefs that we share. These beliefs are at the core of what we have written, and these are the principles we are passionate about sharing with Christian parents who want to consider an alternative to what mainstream books on parenting promote. We realize that some of this may be controversial (in our areas of the country, at least!), perhaps even radical, and we are opening ourselves up to be challenged in the ensuing discussions.

Foundations of Our Philosophy:

1) We believe each baby is a magnificent and miraculous creation of God; each is a unique individual with a personality and temperament all his own. Imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting can frequently lead to undue frustration and/or disillusionment, and may hinder parents from experiencing the wonder of God's creation in the person of their baby.

2) We believe that because each baby is entirely known by our Creator God, it is important to rely on the wisdom of God rather than the wisdom of man in parenting each baby individually. We can call on the Word of God as well as promptings of His Spirit within us to receive divine guidance in our parenting choices.

3) We believe that babies cry to express their needs, not to control or manipulate their parents. We stand with documented and sound research which indicates that responding to baby's cries promotes brain development, social skills, and secure attachment.

4) We acknowledge that babies are, by design, very needy. We believe surrendering ourselves as we meet the needs of our babies in their first year of life is one way in which we can answer Christ's call to servanthood in our own homes.

5) We believe that oftentimes when parents try to avoid the "idolatry of the firstborn" or "idolatry of the newborn," they may fall victim to the idolatry of scheduling. While we fully embrace and understand the importance of routine in shaping the events of a baby's day, we believe that sometimes a preoccupation with scheduling can stand in the way of Christian parents experiencing a deep and meaningful season of spiritual growth and the moments of joy and gratitude inherent in parenting new babies.

6) We believe that God intends the marriage relationship to be the primary and central relationship in the home, and that it should be honored, nurtured, and treasured as such. We believe that parenting together out of a servanthood mindset, led by the Holy Spirit, can actually strengthen the marriage relationship and bring about a deeper level of love, appreciation, and intimacy between husband and wife.

We are not writing an Attachment Parenting manual. While we have each embraced aspects of parenting that mirror or follow some core tenets of the Attachment Parenting style, we have also chosen a number of paths that fall outside of the AP realm. (SortaCrunchy's name is actually inspired by this both-worlds mentality!) We are definitely disheartened by the way that we perceive mainstream Christian parenting manuals encourage a sort of detachment between parent and child, and we do not believe it is possible to spoil an infant by holding, cuddling, or tending to them “too much”. Our overall message, though, is one not so much of method, but mindset. One that encourages consistent response and an attitude of servanthood, and one that we believe is modeled after the very heart of God the Father.

We will expand much more on these topics and many more in the coming weeks! As always, we welcome your comments and look forward to engaging in honest, safe, respectful discussion together.

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