Monday 15 October 2012

Understanding better how to parent

On a glorious sunny spring Sunday in Cape Town, Becky and I met with friends who live in Sea Point - a beautiful resort between Cape Town city centre and Signal Hill. After a wonderful walk along the promenade to soak in the much-awaited sunshine (it feels like it's been a long winter!), we enjoyed English tea and a chat about anything that came up.

As we discussed various things, the topic of raising children came up. Our friends had just been to an adoption conference, run by Arise, where they learned about the 'ins' and 'outs' of adopting children in South Africa. We shared with them about our own journey, and how we long to adopt, but know that as volunteers in South Africa, it has become impossible for us.

However, there was so much to learn from the adoption process that we can apply to the raising of our own children. As Joshua didn't come with an instruction book, I want to limit the amount of counselling he's going to need as a result of my mistakes as a parent. One of the tools that Arise uses to highlight the challenges of adopting a child is the Wall of Needs. This is a basic building blocks diagram of what is perceived that a child would need in order to have a stable upbringing. The thought is, is that every child adopted has some of these vital building blocks missing and therefore will need extra care, over and above other children within the family to compensate for that loss. "The Wall is a graphic illustration of how unmet physical and emotional needs early in life affect children’s later development, requiring different parenting techniques and support for adoptive parents." Taken from Adoption UK
building blocks for a healthy child
The Wall of a healthy child looks something like this.
(I didn't come up with this, but can't find a reference for who did!

However, as I scanned through the diagram, I found myself analysing whether Joshua was afforded these building blocks. I also looked through each one and started thinking about areas that I hadn't given enough attention to. To compound the situation, the discussion shifted on to the challenges faced in later life by any one of these blocks either missing, or inadequately addressed.
I long to be a good, God-fearing, father to Joshua, so wherever I can get help (within reason), I try and grab it with both hands. And learn through the process, repenting of my failure so far. This thought process brought to mind the film, Courageous, in which a group of guys learn that their 'best intentions' as fathers wasn't good enough for what God had called them to be. I went and re-read The Resolution from the film, where they declared some truths that they would hold each other to. My declaration today is that I will try to step into this role and be the father that God is calling me to be. 

In case you wondered, this is the resolution. Let me know if you agree...

I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honour her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
I WILL train them to honour authority and live responsibly.
I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
I WILL seek to honour God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfil this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ---Joshua 24:15

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May God bless you Pete for this courageous heart you have to be the father and husband He has called you to be :)
May you know His strength, wisdom and guidance as you intentionally walk out this pledge.
I pray He will equip you with everythig good you need to do His will...
Naomi x