One of the ways that I've noticed that the opportunity/ability to "Be Who You Are" becomes a cross (rather than a blessing) is that many of us fall into the trap of looking outside for "comparison", "approval", "validation", and "enrichment".
There is a natural ebb and flow to family life...ups, downs, failures, successes, adventures, challenges, joys, sorrows, etc... Any who choose this lifestyle come to find that in order for it to be a "success", we need to understand that family life is a challenge and we need to learn to keep the priorities straight and the focus where it needs to be in the moment.
The way that this plays out on an average day will be unique and varied from family to family. Therefore, it is quite futile for one family to look toward another in order to assess their own situation!
It is wise to remain open-minded and accepting to change and improvement. When we see something someone else is implementing in their home that we feel would enrich our own family life, we can take the idea and adapt it for ourselves. However, when we see others doing things, and rather than learning from them or being enriched by them, we use it as a way to degrade ourselves or "prove our failures", then we have gotten off-track and are headed for nothing but frustration and disaster.
God calls each family to a special purpose and mission. Every family must discern what that mission/purpose is for themselves. What He asks of my family will most likely be very different from what He asks of yours...Our job should be to help each other see our individual callings more clearly, and to uplift, support, and encourage one another in living that out on a daily basis.
Have the courage to be who you are...and have the maturity to analyze and judge your own situations for what they are...not what someone else's is!
This carries over in a more personal way when it comes to family convictions/standards/morals/lifestyles.
Time and time again, I read threads and posts on websites where parents are seeking advice as to whether or not to allow something in their home that they feel isn't what they want for their family...but either a relative has offered it as a gift, or they themselves feel pressured to allow it so that their families would be "more like the others". A case in point recently, was a mother who posted on a social network site saying that the thought of having "gaming devices" (such as WII or Nintendo) in her home for her young children made her nauseus, but she was unsure whether she could turn down this gift from her mother-in-law for fear of offending her.
In seeking and carrying out God's will in our individual lives, we can not go around worried about whether our decisions will "offend" someone. If those decisions are focused on our family life, and we have discerned that what we are doing is best for our family, then the only person we need to make sure we are not offending is God. Beyond that, we must always behave charitably (especially if we are turning down an offered gift from a well-meaning relative or friend), but we must also have the courage needed to stand by our convictions and not give way to conforming to outside opinions simply so we will appear to be "more like the others" or so we will not "offend" them.
The point is not even whether we think that certain games or music or movies are good or bad in and of themselves...the point is: you know your family; and you know what God is asking of you...and if it means that you decide not to own something, or view something, or do something because you feel its best for your marriage, your children, your education, or your family and faith life...the stand by that and be who you are...do not worry what others think and do not worry that you are "depriving" your children of anything. Most often, you will find that these things are not even an issue for your kids...until someone makes it an issue. (The mother I mentioned earlier in this post knew her son's personality was such that he had a compulsion toward addictive behavior and she felt that owning these games would have a far more negative impact upon him rather than a positive one...yet she was doubting herself because of outside opinions)
If you want to own a WII...own one....
If you don't want television in your home...get rid of it...
If you wish to enroll in a cyber-curriculum....do so
If you like to design your own lesson plans...get started today!
If you choose only educational films for your family....so be it
Decide who you are as a family....and be who you are!
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich
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