Monday, May 16, 2011

What She Did Right - Spiritual Parenting Lessons from Princess Diana

I must confess that I love, love, love weddings in general. One of my fantasy jobs would be to have the Kleinfeld Bridal of the South boutique. As you can imagine, I enjoyed all of the Royal Wedding hoopla. I caught a couple of programs on TLC (accidentally, I swear) that profile the princes. As I watched these shows, I noticed that one thing that comes up often is how Princess Diana was very deliberate in exposing her sons to real people of all classes. She wanted them to be aware of the world beyond the privileged one they were born into. Wow! That took guts. That took some deliberate planning. That took a humble heart on her part. The fruit of all that effort is two men who are very down to earth, who have done such things as serve in a homeless shelter, walked side by side with wounded soldiers for a fundraiser, visited orphanages full of children with AIDS, slept on the streets of London to experience a night of homelessness and Harry has even served on the field in Afghanistan. Now you're thinking, "So what? Those people might be a bit daft and most of those actions were probably for show." You're entitled to your opinion. Since you're reading this, you're now entitled to mine. LOL! Here it is...I think we are all a bit daft in our own way. And, personally, I don't know of anyone who has ever served on the field during war time "just for show". Neither of these men have lived a lifestyle that I agree with completely; I live by the moral code of Christianity which would be counter to some of their choices. So why, exactly, am I holding them up as examples? I'll tell ya.

I do remember bits and pieces of their upbringing over the years as different things made news but I didn't give it much thought then. As a mother, I started really thinking about it. I probably would have made very different choices - I think I would have chosen to shelter my children from danger, from unpleasantness, from lifestyles that I would have considered "beneath" them. As Diana exposed her children to such things, she was right there with them to help them process and navigate all that they saw. She became beloved world wide for this (and other things). She was not removed and hiding. She walked among the common folk, befriended many people in many classes and walks of life. What a contrast to her in-laws who had lived for generations removed from most of the world, living in imposing castles, isolated and protected. Notice that they commanded awe and respect but not love or admiration. People are drawn to those who will walk with them. Do you see where I'm going yet? Jesus, GOD HIMSELF, who could have commanded everything and lived above all chose to walk among us. He walked with sinners, He loved, He healed, He touched.

As parents, we should do this as well. Children NEED their parents to help guide and process and think about this world of contradictions that we live in. They NEED us to guide them in truth. They NEED us to help them build their spiritual armor so that they can stand for truth, for Christ, for love and grace.

I think too often parents, especially Christian parents, want to build a castle and keep their children inside it. We assume that we are in control, we should be protecting them from worldliness, from temptation, from pain and suffering and the best way to do that is to isolate them. Believe me when I tell you that I really do feel like doing that as well. When we were first coming to terms with my daughter's diagnosis of Down Syndrome, I had this overwhelming instinct to grab my children and my husband and run away to someplace that was perfect, where neither of them would suffer through all that this diagnosis might entail. But, I trust in a God that knows best and works everything for our good.

That doesn't mean that I'm hustling my precious babies to homeless shelters and leaving all of our worldly goods for the depths of Africa. We have not been called to do that - at least not right now and probably not ever. However, I am called to raise children who are willing to risk in the name of Christ. I need to be willing to risk and sacrifice for Him as well. I'm called, as an individual, to walk in the world but not be of it. I'm called to be humble as a lamb and wise as a serpent. I'm called to be a light for Christ and continually reflect Him to everyone regardless of their station in life. I'm called to serve. I'm called to teach my children with words and example about Christ. I need to step out of my comfort zone and take my children (as they are ready) with me. As I do these things, people will be drawn to God; they will wonder what makes our lives and our family unique and will want what we have.

Our children don't need isolation; they need to see and experience life, they need me and their daddy to help them process the difficult things in life and they need us to point them to Christ. When we do this, we are preparing them for life outside of our protective arms, we are teaching them about God and His love for the souls of people. We need to teach our children to see others as God sees them - lost people in need of a loving God. In this process, God will direct their hearts to the path that He has chosen for them and created them uniquely to do. This is a daily challenge. It's a holy tension that keeps us dependent on Christ. I look forward to seeing what God does with our children for Him. What a humbling, honorable work we do. God bless you in it.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post!! And this one line in particular is where Christians who oppose homeschooling are partly right "Our children don't need isolation; they need to see and experience life,..." But this point you made in the words following this is what they seem to forget about, "they need me and their daddy to help them process the difficult things in life and they need us to point them to Christ." That's the most important part! They don't need to be out in the fake "real world" of public school to see and experience life...they need to be in the real "real world" WITH their parents through it all!