We’re back to look at the last of the myths from Leslie Leyland Fields’ “Parenting Is Your Highest Calling” And 8 Other Myths That Trap Us In Worry and Guilt. Leslie titles the last myth God Approves of Only One Family Design.
In the book, Leslie lists the average family having 2.08 kids and in my study of census numbers from 2000, I found anything from 2.54 to 3.14. So what is perceived as the average American family is a husband and wife plus two to three kids. If you have more or less kids, you are not average. Single parent versus the non-traditional two, not very average. Finally, if you are a man at home and not the female, definitely not average.
While the beginning of the chapter focuses on how Leslie was made to feel anything but average with her six kids, she then strolls into the next section that talks about different Biblical families. She didn’t have to go very far to find anything but normal.
The discussion begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden, then moves onto how the first child ever born murdered his little brother and then continued through Genesis showing how non-traditional our view of the family really was.
If we look back into the Israelites that came out of Egypt, we see families that were more than the single unit. If you lived with family, and you normally did at that time, you probably had brothers and sisters that had built on extensions to the house owned by your mother and father. That’s right. They all lived together. We may joke about how it may come back to that with the current economy, but it may not be far fetched.
So as we look at the family unit, all sort of strange happenings are possible. Something Leslie didn’t go into much, I’ll go ahead and tackle. In the chapter, she talks of adoption and how some people have made families of children in that fashion. She talked of a single mom, a single dad and even the two-parent man and woman model in brief. She also alluded to the fact that God has helped make the best of these families. Great kids have turned into great adults and have a solid Christian foundation.
However, what she doesn’t talk about is what she would deem as those that are attacking the traditional family. These are the gay and lesbian couples. While this discussion isn’t to get into the gay and lesbian debate, I would like to take a thought on these couples raising kids in adoption or by bringing children into the relationships.
Before I add that thought, I want to take a quote from the book on page 197. Leslie states, “We must amend our assumption that pain and sin in a family limit what God can do--with the truth of what he has done in such families (she is talking of the family of Joseph and other such Biblical families), time and time again.”
I would say that there are many proponents that would be totally against a couple that is not man-woman raising children. But taking the above statement into consideration, can we assume that if God can overcome the problems that a Biblical family had in raising children, can he not also overcome any shortcomings that a gay or lesbian couple might have. You may think that I am stretching for a point here, but in truth the only difference that a Christian couple might have in that rearing versus a homosexual couple is that the Christian couple may teach against the way of homosexuality. That might be the only given.
As parents, we teach our kids that the sky is the limit and there are few boundaries. Again, I am not fighting for or against gay or lesbian couples, but I am saying that there are gay and lesbian individuals that are as intelligent and loving, some even professing Christianity, that are ample and able to raise a child. The children will ultimately still have a choice of hearing, learning and choosing to become Christian at some point in their lives. They will hear the Gospel message. God still wants each of us. If the child of an alcoholic can make the choice, the child raised by a homosexual will also be able to make that choice.
Leslie goes into a section on how being judgmental has shaped our insecurities on raising children. She gives many examples of how people judged some parents even though they were doing the job well. People have been pulled away from because they’ve been through divorce, have a spouse with mental illness, because the male has been in the home rather than the workforce (one I’ve personally dealt with), and because some parents choose only to have one child. It is sometimes the churches’ narrow-minded attitude that cause some parents to stay out or leave.
There are parents dying for help and feel that the church is the last place they can go for it. I’ll talk a little about my own situation. When my wife and I moved here over six years ago, we were childless and not even thinking about the responsibility of children. Six years and three small children later, without family closer than three hours, it is still very hard to go out for an evening. It’s not always a lack of trusting, but a fact that many people don’t want to watch three children for six hours while we do dinner and a movie. We have just begun to make contacts here in the last six months with people that love our children and don’t mind hanging out with them for a while. So believe me when I tell you that for single mothers and others without family nearby, it is difficult, if not impossible for them to be able to take time for themselves.
Leslie takes the next two sections to talk about how God can still work through these imperfect situations to see children raised with a Godly perspective and begin a journey with Jesus. There are many families that have been less than ideal and God still does a powerful work. She tells in brief the story of Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family and how his childhood came out of an alcoholic father almost killing his mother, the divorce of his parents, her remarrying a controlling man that cared little for him, and his mother’s death that led to him being in foster care until adulthood. You wouldn’t think that God could bring someone out of all that and make him an influence in Christian circles, but God can.
We’re not to throw away hopes of a good family, but as Leslie explains on page 203, “We have to let go of this idea that the only way God will save and sanctify our children is if we do our part EXACTLY right and create the PERFECT Christian home.” We are going to mess up, folks. Believe me, I already have a time or two. But God can cover my mistakes and yours too.
The chapter closes with a promise that will help all of us breathe easier. There is a place that it will all be right. The home is in Heaven. Once our time on earth is through, we will reunite and realize that through our mistakes, errors and sins that we will make it. We will live with God as is described Revelation 21. I normally put videos at the beginning, but saved this one for the end.
Hope you enjoyed the video and this series on the Leslie Leyland Fields’ book. But there is one more chapter and it tells us the greatest truth. Read about it next time in Marriage Monday.
I love you guys!