Sunday, March 01, 2009

Transparency Part Four

All I can say is WOW. When I asked for your thoughts about transparency with your children, I never imagined the AMAZING wisdom ya'll would come up with. Clearly, much thought went into your answers...I found myself nodding and amen-ing throughout. At first, I thought I'd highlight some of my favorites, but as I was wading through I discovered that I can't edit a word of what was said.... if you haven't already, click HERE to see what these incredible posters had to say.

What I discovered when reading the comments was that most of us struggle with finding a balance of how much of ourselves to share with our children. All of us agree, I think, that we need to always be truthful. Other than that, it seems that how much we reveal has to do with our individual children, their ages, their personalities, the specific situation, and the leading of the Lord. Ahhhh, music to my ears.

As an educator for the last 17-or-so years, it's been my observation that many parents overshare with their young children. I've counseled kids with anxieties about things children should never have to worry about. Kids have poured fears out in the forms of prayer requests for their parents to be saved from divorce, prison, certain financial disaster. Parents who use even older children as confidants often heap undue burdens on hearts that are not yet ready for that kind of pressure. Though I agree that the truth needs to be told, (we don't want to lie and break the trust that kids have in us) I find it negligent- perhaps even abusive to ask our children to help us carry a load that is meant to be shared only with the Lord.

That being said, I think it's also unfair to hide reality from our children. If my children think my husband never disagree, they will have an unrealistic idea of what marriage looks like. They need to see that because we are perturbed doesn't mean we have to get a divorce, because we have differing opinions we don't need to scream or name-call, because we are angry doesn't mean we get to be disrespectful. We are aware that we are modeling married life for our children, saying to them essentially, "This is the kind of marriage we want you to have." I would hate for them to grow up and think they're somehow doomed the first time they don't see eye-to-eye with their spouse.

sidebar~While it's good for them to see us handling disagreement in a healthy manner from time to time, I also have to say that great efforts are made in our home to present a united front. We ALWAYS back each other up, we NEVER talk badly about each other to the kids, and we NEVER purposely undermine each other. (That's a topic that we could go off on an entirely different tangent on for sure)

The same is true for finances... I don't think it's good for them to think we have a endless cashflow, but it's clearly bad to leave them fretting about where we will sleep or what we will eat. We want to live out Matthew 6:25-34- not worrying about our lives, but placing all in the hands of God. It's true for really all our struggles... showing them a realistic glimpse but never putting them into a place where they feel responsible for fixing a problem that is not theirs.

I had some more thoughts, but really I'd be just echoing the commenters from the last post. Go, read. learn. I sure did.

Next up... transparency with friends... and with self. This should be fun.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
Colossians 3:21 nlt



Elizabeth said...

Well said, and I agree. I remember worrying over things I heard or saw as a child that I never should have known about. I try to protect my kids from things that are not age-appropriate, while also sharing our "real" lives with them in a way that makes it clear that we are leaning on the Lord for provision. It's a fine line sometimes, but worth the effort. The comments on these posts have been wonderful, and I've learned so much from them.

Shanda said...

Having been an educator myself, (I taught 1st grade and was a learning center director) I have to agree with the fact that many children tend to be burdened with loads they are not meant to carry. Many times I believe that was a result of overwhelmed parents who were struggling to make life work in their own realm. (Not necessarily intentional exposure I guess is my point.)

Your posts are a great thought stimulator to make each of us take pause and do a quick assessment of where we can improve on either exposing them to more truth/transparency in our lives or working to relieve some of the pressures we have unintentionally placed upon our kids.

Looking forward to the next part!

Gretchen said...

Yep. What you said.

Halfmoon Girl said...

As a mom and a preschool teacher, it is pretty obvious that children's perspectives can be very different from ours- good to check what they are hearing us say because they can form life long impressions over miscommunication. You write such great series!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

You are right on. I went back and read the comments on Part III...such good stuff there! Thanks for doing this series, Amber! I'm lovin' it.

lisasmith said...

Seriously, Amber, thanks.

Becky said...

Great series, HisGirl. It's been something I've been mulling over a lot these past few days.

That unified front thing is key.

Jenster said...