There is a great book that came out in 2016 through Ancient Faith Publishing called “Parenting Toward the Kingdom: Orthodox Christian Principles of Child-Rearing” by author Philip Mamalakis. I had actually bought a copy of this book last year and finished the introduction. Unfortunately I didn’t make it any further in to the book because of our move to the city, being pregnant and now having the Snorting Warthog. I have finally gotten back into the book after last week.
I was at Vacation Church School at our home church in Chicago last week with the Honey Badger. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Honey Badger had a day where she was trying to talk with the Bishop during a lesson (she felt obligated to answer every rhetorical question and expound on her thoughts), danced like a ballerina while Father John read the Gospel lesson, pooped in her pants without telling anyone, and I could go on and on and on…
The Honey Badger isn’t bad, she is “spirited.” Or at least that is what I like to tell myself. Sometimes I feel like I could hug her and love her forever and another moment I feel like I am going to lose my shit with her (at least that is what is happening in my mind while I am calmly redirecting her). I noticed that everyone else’s kids seemed to be more cooperative and respectful during the church school (at least that is how I felt in my mind, but I know that isn’t totally true). I asked one of the moms of three young kiddos what her secret was and she said, “Are you familiar with a book ‘Parenting Toward the Kingdom’?” I told her that I owned a copy but hadn’t yet read it. She insisted that I prioritize reading this book right away.
I finished the first chapter. The next day TBF and I got in to a discussion that reminded me of a small portion of what I read. The author said we cannot look at the immediate situation and how our kids will respond. We have to look at where we want our kids to end up; I need to ask myself ‘what type of an adult do I want my child to be’? I need to look at the immediate situation in which she acts out and respond to her in a fashion that is going to enable her to understand why I am responding to her in a certain way (and not just reacting to her behavior, which can be easy to do). This takes a lot of work and a lot of patience. To be quite sure, I cannot do this alone. I truly need the direction of others in the faith, as well as the comfort and direction of the Holy Spirit.
I am sure that this is a popular book among many Orthodox believers (although you wouldn’t necessarily need to be Orthodox Christian to get something out of this book as a parent), because a good friend who is Greek Orthodox hosted Philip Mamalakis at her church up in Michigan last fall and they had a terrific turnout. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this quite anticipated read…My threenager went pee in her pants today and didn’t let me know for almost ten minutes…There are moments like that where I realize she is testing me and I need to have it together when I respond to her…I hope I can guide her in to becoming the woman I would love to see her be; each moment is an opportunity on this journey to get her there.