I am the mother of boys (one and three). Every day I am barraged with the sins and sickness waiting to take hold of my family as we navigate our time on this earth—toxic masculinity, white privilege, sexism, American exceptionalism, and so on and so on. Yet on top of all that, caring for God’s creation and being stewards of this earth are targeted to us as being exhausting, overdramatic, a lie, or outside our purview.
So much of what I learned as a kid about interacting with others, both at home and in the Church, was centered around simply being nice. On the surface, there’s nothing with being nice, of course. It’s just that being nice is superficial when compared to being kind. Since I became parent, this distinction has become increasingly important to me.
For many of us millennial parents, we are trying to shift out of the static approach of religious thinking via indoctrination that many of us received as kid—and all the exclusionary, binary, and harmful frames that comes from it. So I like how you provided the alternative as “inspiring” our kids. The four ways I try to do this with my kids are through nature, history, literature, and rituals.
Being a parent can bring immense joy to our lives. It can also bring great challenges and difficulties. Because we love our kids so much, the emotions surrounding parenting are some of the most intense we feel. If our desire is to experience more of the joy of parenting the only way to start is by being honest about where we are. Admitting that parenting is difficult when that is how you feel is the only way to get to the other side.