When you first become a parent, it is natural to have hopes and dreams for your child. Some of those hopes and dreams guide decisions and choices as a parent, and some of those hopes and dreams fade away.
Once we get to know that tiny bundle that comes home with us – hopefully, we learn how to adapt our personalities, bents, and inclinations to the personalities, bents, and inclinations God has given our children.
Being a parent is hard. Parenting an Out of the Box Child, though, can present a whole different horizon than ever imagined.
An Out of the Box Child, for my intent and purposes, includes a child who might:
- Be labeled “Strong Willed” or a “Discipline problem”
- Be Diagnosed with a neurological condition such as ADHD, Asperger’s or Autism
- Have a physical condition which presents challenges in the regular activities of daily living
- Just like to dance on the outside of any regular or “normal” lines that are deemed acceptable in general
An Out of the Box Child may or may not have any specific condition, but may just flutter or charge through life with an outlook that completely puzzles, overwhelms, or mystifies his/her parents, teachers, siblings, and others.
God has created a whole wide range of personalities. I’ve seen them categorized into 4 broad generalizations (choleric, sanguine, melancholy, and phlegmatic, for example). I’ve also seen them arranged in a more detailed list including up to 16 psychological types (In this case, I am an ENFP). Even this is just a reflection of parts of me, and does not define me as an individual…
The idea is that we are each individuals with strengths and weaknesses, flaws and virtues, styles and preferences. When we marry, it can be a challenge to meld those individuals together in a peaceful life of harmony. And when those two individuals are blessed with a child – who looks like one and acts “just like” the other (or both), it becomes a whole different challenge to parent that child well.
With love and fairness. Without unrealistic expectations or unfair demands. With a desire to train them to know and love God, while understanding the individual personality and responding accordingly.
That would explain the thousands upon thousands of books with parenting advice, parenting plans, parenting styles, and stories of parenting “failures” and “successes.” But I am still early on in my journey and although I have learned a lot – I still have so much to learn.
Parenting is about being who I am and becoming who I need to be in relationship to each child God gives me. Parenting is about each individual God has blessed me with to raise – as both an opportunity to bless and be blessed in this relationship. And to bring blessing to the world.
I was inspired to write about this topic by reading Sarah Mae’s Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe again. And then after I wrote this (but before this post was actually published), I read Sally Clarkson’s blog post about her son Nathan and smiled because it is exactly WHY I am writing this…
I will have more posts on this topic
next THIS week. (Really. They are written. And scheduled). And will continue to write about this subject because it is part of the journey God has led me on, and I know I am not alone…