Friday, May 09, 2014

I Love John Rosemond!

Okay, I love my husband a lot more, and love might be too strong of a word, but I do have a great respect for Dr. Rosemond.  He is a breath of fresh air to this couple right here.  We both enjoyed listening to him very much at the GHC convention in Cincinnati.  I thought it might be fun to revisit my notes and share with you what I learned.

Dr. Rosemond is very easy to listen to.  He is matter of fact and quite funny.  At the end of each seminar he left us wanting more; not that his talk was missing anything, just that he was that enjoyable to listen to.  My husband and I both agreed that we could have listened to him well into the night.

We feel challenged by the ideas of Dr. Rosemond.  His insight is well founded and spot on.  With his help, we traveled back several decades to the 1950's, and beyond, where he reminded us of the parenting styles of our mothers and grandmothers.  One thought that stuck with me is, "My mother expected me to pay attention to her."  Why, yes.  Yes she did!  His charge is that today's mother pays too much attention to her children, and that attention has profoundly negative effects on the very children we are so desperately trying to positively influence.

Based on his education in psychology and his own experience as a parent, Dr. Rosemond contends that this parental shift of sorts happened in the 1960's when parents quit listening to and learning from their elders in regard to parenting their own children.  Rather, they started listening to the flawed advice of psychologists and so called professionals.  From that point forward the behavior of our children has disintegrated, and our stress level has sky rocketed.  Today's mom has the bar raised so high that she can never achieve the standards she's set for herself, but she wears herself out to no end trying.  I have to admit my guilt in this one.  I have tortured myself day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and even decade after decade trying so desperately to learn the best way to parent my children without messing them up too much.  What a daunting task it has been at times!

Dr. Rosemond contends that today's mother works much harder than the mothers of decades past while she raises half the children her grandmother did.  It's really ridiculous if you stop and think about it, and think about it I have.  My husband and I had already been pondering some of these things.  We just hadn't found our way quite to the level Dr. Rosemond took us.  One thing that always bothered me was the level of effort we put forth to extract obedience from our children; never mind the multitudes of failures in this department over the years.  I had already been discussing this with my husband.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't a perfect kid.  I made some terrible mistakes growing up, but for the most part I did what I was told when I was asked to do something.  My mom didn't have to fight with me to do my part around the house.  I knew what was expected, and I did it.  There were no chore charts, no allowance, and rarely a remind.  She never had to correct how I folded the towels or go behind me because I missed the corners when I dusted.  There was no reminder to put the milk back in the refrigerator, and she didn't have to remove something from the cupboard due to me putting it in the wrong place.  It didn't happen.  I was taught how to do things right and to do it right the first time.  There were no battles.  I've never been able to understand why I wasn't able to pull that level of efficiency off with our own children.  I always chalked it up to being a combined family.  Now, I would have to say that would be incorrect.

Another thing that really stood out to me is the point Dr. Rosemond made about his mom spending time with her friends and what they did, or didn't, talk about.  He shared that he had asked his mother what she used to talk about with her girlfriends when he was a kid.  Guess what?  It was everything BUT him!  I know I have personally spent a lot of time talking with trusted individuals about my parenting challenges over the years.  Moms of the past did no such thing.  They didn't talk about their children.  Instead, the talked about their interests and how they were spending their time.  They were INTERESTING!  Are you interesting?  I know I am not so interesting, and it has been a struggle of my heart.  I have been frustrated very much in this department for quite some time.  I am so wrapped up in my children that there is NO time for ME.  I have felt lost in parenthood for many years now.  A couple of years ago I was just glimpsing the illusion of freedom, and it did feel good, then we became parents of three instead of one.  (For those of you that are unfamiliar, we had already raised seven children when we adopted one more.  Then, we also became parents to two of our grandchildren unexpectedly.  Vacation over!  LOL)  I say illusion, because I really didn't know that I was my own gate keeper.

This idea ties into another area of discussion between the husband and myself, freedom for the kids.  Dr. Rosemond hit on this as well.  Kids NEED time that is unstructured.  In today's society we are SO structured with an abundance of activities.  We cart kids from one thing to the next, and they rarely have time all to themselves.  One thing I have known for a long time is that kids actually NEED to get bored.  Boredom does breed creativity.  My conclusion?  If we actually allow our children unstructured time to explore, play, and just be children, then we mothers will have plenty of time to explore, play, and just be ourselves.  We can take off our hats and truly be who we are.  We CAN be interesting!  We do not need to be so wrapped up in the lives of our children that we cannot do anything relevant to ourselves.  Seriously!  If we do not make it a point to be interesting and be MORE than mothers to our children our children WILL view us as dispensers of entitlements.  This, dear friend, is a fact.  I have seen it plain and simple in our family as well as the families of those near and dear to my heart.

How do you feel when I make this statement?  "Children should be seen, and not heard."  It used to ruffle my feathers.  Now, I view it in a totally different light.  I love including children in conversation, but there is a distinct line that has been muddied over the decades of degradation.  Though the aforementioned statement may seem blunt and harsh to we parents of today, there is a value in the philosophy that has been going right over our heads.  It may be even more relevant to those of us that are homeschoolers.  When children are "seen, and not heard" they are cast in the role of the student.  The distinction between adult and child becomes clear, and children are effectively taught to become adults.

We, my husband I, are still learning how to be effective parents in our home.  Raising seven children in the circumstances that we did taught us a lot.  It laid the foundation for us to be capable of raising the children currently in our charge.  Our hearts and minds have never been more open to the prompting of God, especially with regard to the care and keeping of children.  I know what I have shared my strike a nerve with some of you.  However, when I am completely honest with myself I am acutely aware of the way things have degraded within our society.  I believe in the Biblical principles as the foundation for family, and I am constantly working toward understanding what the Bible has to say and how to apply it to my life.  I long for a self-sufficient life for my children based on Godly principles and Biblical virtues.  With this in mind I will continue to educate myself, keep my heart open to the prompting of God, and share with others what I learn along the way.  Over the coming months I will continue to share on this and related subjects.  I hope the things God has put on my heart with challenge your thinking as well as encourage you along your own personal journey with your Creator, your family, yourself, and your community.

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