The theme of this month's MOMs dinner was a meet and greet with our new senior minister. Who is INCREDIBLE! She is brand new to our church so definitely inundated with invitations and requests. It must be hard to be the center of much attention under a constant spotlight. But Pam handled it with grace, wisdom and a calm that draws me right in. She is appropriately reverent and guarded while also being warm, welcoming, and friendly. She seems very real and approachable; although I am admittedly intimidated by the enormous flurry of activity and obligation surrounding her (it is hard to be on the spot for the short moments of introduction to say something meaningful). And oh man her sermons are home runs! Thank you God for an engaging minister to help us learn and grow in our faith. We are hungry for this direction as we dive back into our church community.
During our time tonight she spoke about the role of young mothers in our world. We chuckled when she reflected on the way our culture really "conspires" against mothers trying to balance it all. Home! Work! Church! Well-behaved kids! That we are often flooded with guilt, striving, self-doubt, to-dos, and constantly caring for others - never feeling like we have it just right. And with very little time for ourselves.
Pam had many profound thoughts and answers. Most of our questions revolved around a theme of how can we as parents ensure a foundation of Christian faith in our young children? How can we set them on the "right" path? She referenced a book called "The Art of Loving" published in the 1950s and also the Biblical analogy of the "land of milk and honey." Both the book and analogy are pertinent with similar philosophies.
- Pam spoke about "milk" in this case as the way we nurture our children. How we protect, care for, guard, guide and teach them.
- And that "honey" as the zest for and delight in life we hope for our kids. We want them to love life - to have fun in and experience life; to feel fulfilled.
Ultimately if we give our children too much "milk" there is no room for the "honey" - the crush of helicopter parents means there is little room for children to independently learn to experience the life God gave us. And that the way we teach our kids about this "honey" is to practice loving life ourselves for ourselves. We teach them the honey part by implementing what Fromm wrote about in "The Art of Loving" as self-love. According to Fromm, loving oneself is quite different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. Loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one's strengths and weaknesses).
Which we can all do in the juggling act of motherhood.
This concept of helping our kids find God's land of both "milk" and "honey" was powerful. Here's hoping we can do just that!
Gosh I hope that makes coherent sense the way I wrote it. It at least connects in my brain!