Oh, I know I’ve been quiet lately– my children scold me almost daily, “We need a new post!” and then scroll through the archives and laugh over past exploits (a habit I love). Like everyone else I’ve been too busy (I always think of writing as a luxury rather than a chore) and I’ve been so opinionated these days I’m hesitant to tell you what I really think.
For some odd reason, I’ve been asked for advice almost daily this month, one blog advertiser even suggested I promote myself as a parenting expert with a button, weblinks and even a Skype account where people could pay to receive my advice. I couldn’t press DELETE fast enough.
Don’t get me wrong. I love queries for my opinion and if I don’t stop myself, I’ll give you the uncensored rundown of just what to do. But I recognize this tendency as a weakness, even when friends ask, they are merely looking for ideas and options. Even topics as simple as allowance are laden with emotions and back stories and family goals. What works for my family (no allowance, ever) might not work for you.
So, when I’m behaving and at my restrained best, I’ll give this advice: watch, listen, ask questions, read, pray and choose what is best for your family. You are the parent, you know your child better than any book or expert; you know your family dynamics and goals. And if you don’t, find out. Take time to decide the sort of family life you crave and make choices accordingly.
When we first began establishing our family culture with Ben and Stefan I heard a fair amount of criticism from neighbors. We were, and are, very very different, but our choices fit our goals.
One of the facts still lodged in my brain from a family science class twenty-three years ago is successful families have few rules. It sounds counterintuitive– don’t rules lead to results?– but building a family culture is far more effective. My kids study hard because Lehnardts want to be smart, they practice instruments because we love good music (and haven’t The Piano Guys proven once and for all classical music is both awesome and manly?), they are kind because we don’t tolerate or celebrate meanness and they clean and wash and weed because we work together. We fail daily, but we constantly evaluate our choices and habits and seek better ones.
Ah, look, I’ve just given all kinds of opinions. But don’t listen to me; listen to yourself, listen to God. Choose the life you want; make it yours.
Just in case you haven’t heard of The Piano Guys, take a peek at their newest video (and then spend the rest of the weekend watching/listening/obsessing over everything they’ve ever produced. They are the perfect example of being different, marching to their own beat and finding success.