Parenting in 2020 has definitely kept me on my toes. As my girls are getting older and the world is constantly changing, I have to refine and reconsider what values I want to instill in them. Mike and I want our girls to be kind, critical thinkers, problem solvers, exhibit ingenuity, and be resilient. These values are taught through modeling and putting the girls in situations that build these values.
Values are fought for, not just handed down from one generation to the next. We do have a family culture that pushes ourselves to do hard things. We are a team that encourages, preserves, overcomes, and accomplishes hard things together.
Mike and I do not shy away from the difficult conversations around parenting. Our kids are getting old enough that they are integrated into the conversation. As the girls grow up, the issues are not so black and white. It feels like a lot of our table talk is about the gray areas of life. Most of the time my girls are processing hard issues that I am still mulling over myself.
Some of our current conversations revolve around managing the risk of Covid 19, the healthy use of technology, and loving others well in a politically charged environment. I come at these issues knowing that every parent has to decide what is best for their family and that differing opinions are well thought out and well-intentioned.
It is easier to start with the point of this post. It is more important to value one another at the end of the day, no matter where we settle on these important issues. It is better to be kind than right. Discussion and debate are essential components to raising daughters to navigate an ever-changing world. There are many things in life that I hold loosely.
Parenting In the Times of Covid
My girls are old enough that they are now part of the conversation regarding how we will manage our risk and health regarding the pandemic. We have determined how we will navigate going into public, spending time with family, and outdoor activities. The boundaries we have put on our family are fluid and reflect the current nuances of the situation.
Our girls thrive on consistent boundaries and expectations. Yet, with Covid 19, new science, new guidelines, and new testing data changes how we respond as a family. The girls hear and are a part of these conversations as we juggle how we love others well, participate in our community, and care for our mental health. There are no easy answers, plus it is important to give ourselves and others grace as we continue to navigate these changing circumstances.
Halloween is less than two weeks away, and as of today, our city is holding its regular trick-or-treat hours. We celebrated Halloween by trick-or-treating with close friends, followed by a meal of hot comfort food for the last five years. This year our close friends are no longer living in the area, so we needed to mix things up.
After considering the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in our area, family members that are in the higher risk category, and the need for a fresh tradition, we decided to opt-out of our village trick-or-treating. The girls understand this decision and are excited to spend an evening at grandma and grandpa’s house eating fun Halloween food, all the candy they can, and watching a festive movie. Allowing the girls to be part of the decision-making process gains their buy-in. They are eager to plan the dinner + dessert to make it our first Halloween night-in.
Parenting In the Times of Political Division
The countdown is on to the election. This is the first election that my girls are old enough to have some understanding of the political environment. They realize that there are beliefs that make you relate to one political party more than the others.
I come from a family that debated politics and policies yet I did not realize what way my parents voted until well into my high school years. I felt like one parent tended to play the devil’s advocate or take the other side. Issues could be seen from many angles and each was held with respect and valued. Maybe this is why even now my family of origin holds many different political beliefs and can make clear, valid points to back them up. I value this diversity within my family and appreciate knowing that it is human to disagree and value one another at the same time.
Parenting through these political times is challenging. My girls seek a straight forward answer. What party do I associate with? Who will I vote for? Why do my siblings think differently? I do not have quick, easy answers to these questions. Instead, I want to talk to them about each of the parties’ values and positive + negative aspects.
The girls hear adult conversations about current news stories and understand that disagreement can be good-natured. We can love one another well and disagree politically. People are more important than political associations.
Parents this is an opportunity for us to show our kids how to love well and stay positive. I want my girls to see me encouraging other moms, valuing other’s opinions, and respecting people by my actions in these precarious times. Every mom, that I personally know, is evaluating their current situation and responding in the best way they know how for their family. That is fantastic!
It is okay for all of us to parent differently. The pandemic and political environment are not easy to navigate in the parenting arena. As adults, the information overload, contradictory storylines, and heightened health issues can become overwhelming. I challenge myself to be an encourager of other moms. I find it difficult to compare and criticize when I am encouraging and cheering others on.
Kids are sponges that soak up all of our actions and attitudes. Especially in these times, it is important to point to the truth. Reminding the girls that God is in control, He is Good, and He knows all things keeps us grounded on truth.
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17
Simply Cultivate is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.