Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stepping Stones vs. Core Values

We've found that parenting with simplicity in mind is sometimes, well, complicated.  It requires intentionality, swimming against the current, doing things differently than what is currently practiced in mainstream parenting.  It's a mindset that doesn't come naturally to our plugged-in, Western society.

Even amidst making decisions for our family that we feel are in line with our desire for a simple home where our true values take precedence, I have discovered that it's easy to get lost in the details of those decisions instead of focusing on the values that I'm really trying to get to in the end.  That's one long sentence.  Let me try to explain.  Here are some of the parenting choices that we have decided on for our family, all of which (in some form or another) fit with our value of simplicity:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months
  • Cloth Diapering
  • Elimination Communication
  • Baby led weaning
  • A "montessorian" approach to toys
    • A few, quality toys that encourage exploration and creativity
    • No electronic toys
    • Involve your child (yes, even as young as 1-2 years old) in real-life work (which is the best kind of play for them!)
  • A capsule wardrobe approach to clothes
  • Plus more that we are still figuring out... 
While I may choose to write a few specific posts on some of these decisions and why they fit into our approach to simplicity, that is not the point of this post.  The point is that I have often spent hours upon hours, days even, researching and reading about these subjects.  Buying and reading books, researching on the internet, etc, etc.  Sometimes I will get so sucked in to a topic, that I forget/choose not to connect with Ansel.  I forget/choose not to read my Bible or spend time in prayer.  I forget/choose not to exercise and make healthy eating decisions.  I forget/choose not to spend enough time outdoors.  Sometimes I truly forget and a gentle reminder from Barry or God or another source points me back in the right direction.  But, let's be honest, most of the time it is a choice that I am making.  In an effort to make the best decision about parenting choice "x", I have neglected what Barry and I consider to be our core underlying values:
  1. A vital, living, daily relationship with God
  2. Meaningful connection and closeness as a family
  3. Service to those in need around us
  4. A healthy, active lifestyle
  5. Spending time in nature
These are the areas that I should be spending the majority of my time and energy developing.  While some of the stepping stones listed in the first list can contribute to our core values, they do not and can never act as a substitute.  A family may choose to use formula, disposable diapers, potty train at 6 years old, feed purees until age 3, have a roomful of plastic, electronic toys, and a pile full of mismatching clothes and yet still be doing a better job than we are in promoting authenticity with God, family, and the world around them.  Barry and I have seen this many times and it is always a wake-up call to us.  How incredibly tragic it would be to arrive at old age and realize that we failed to  accomplish the most bedrock of character building tasks in our children.

1 comment: