Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Parenting Lessons from Unexpected Places ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Parenting Lessons from Unexpected Places ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

As a mother of three, I accept help wherever I can find it. And sometimes I find it in lyrics to popular songs. If it passes the test of consistency with what I'm learning from the Bible about my nature as a child of God, I consider myself blessed to have gained an insight that I can really wrap my thought around.

So I love the refrain from R&B artist Monica's song from the '90s that says, "Don't take it personal." She had such a soulful way, even at the tender age of 14, of explaining to her boyfriend why he shouldn't take her moods "personal." What a great lesson.

My daughters have said some outrageous things to me over the years. They have not always welcomed my guidance. They have preferred to hang out with their own friends rather than spend time with me. They've found my fashion sense an embarrassment, my morals old-fashioned, and my taste in literature boring. I've learned, over time, not to take it personally.

I've learned that the wisdom of a 14-year old may not be the last word in parenting. I've learned to accept that I have been appointed to the office of parent, and it's my job to courageously and lovingly administer the obligations of that office, even when it means my popularity rating takes a dip.

Sure there have been times when I've felt angry, hurt, or offended. That really accomplished nothing. Much better to see the situation as a teaching opportunity, be willing to listen for creative ways to get the point across, and wait patiently for the meaning to sink in.

I've found this theme reinforced in a statement from a spiritual pioneer of the late 19th century, Mary Baker Eddy. She wrote in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil" (page 571).

Seeing the potential deep within

Then there's the lesson from Leon Russell's "A Song for You": "I know your image of me is what I hope to be." That simple phrase evokes images of a higher love - a love that goes beyond seeing a human being, with all her flaws, and loving her anyway, to seeing the potential deep within her. That's what I want to give my children. …

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