I finished the book.
You know, I think this whole task of caring for children never ends. I can see that when I began having children, my intentions were the best. I would raise them to know God. They were a gift and I would entrust them to God.
So much living gets in the way of our true intentions sometimes. We did not become the idyllic Christian family that I envisioned – all my children growing up deeply devoted to God, serving him, all eventually married to good Christians and in their turn raising up more Christian children.
Instead, I have raised a hodgepodge of humans. Weak, sinning humans. Some know and follow God and some really do not care. Yet.
The author of In The Midst of Chaos talks about the “religious familism” that idealizes the mother who stays at home devoted to her children at the expense of her own life. A lot of guilt weighs down on those of us who have chosen another path. The author deals with this too. She speaks of a new type of family where mutuality in parenting is practiced. Imagine – giving the role of parent enough credibility that it is work worthy of sharing as equally as possible, juggling work roles outside the home along with caring for our children. Hard but worth it.
The author covers topics in the last few chapters on family life, choices families make about where they will live, their lifestyle that makes the home a mission field and a place for reaching out to others. She talks about the value of play, of playing together as a family and the importance of instilling in children a love of reading. Finally she discusses the need to let children go and the small griefs one lives through along the whole parenting journey.
I think that a similar book could be written for grandparents. I guess that I can learn from this book and extrapolate meaning from it that I can apply to this final stage of parenting. Choices also have to be made about how one will grandparent as well. And that is the place I am in now. Making choices, trying to find more time to do this grandparenting thing well; passing on some of the things I value to the little ones that are mine.