On completion of that particular book and well into the task
of raising three boys, I resolved to take a hiatus from reading
about parenting and striving to get it “right.” I needed to
impart more grace to myself, to my children, and to others.
In many ways, I was a parenting repeater. Yet my
mothering style was conjoined with a lot of internal rebellion
against the religious teaching of my youth. I stoked an inner
fire with misdirected anger toward my own parents. As I began
to experience and consider the complexities and difficulties of
being a mom, kindness toward myself and my parents crept
into my heart. Just like me, they were doing the best that they
knew how given the life they had lived. But at this point in life,
I still was not courageous enough to go against much that I
had been taught and seen modeled. I did not yet trust my gut
or my own voice. Conservative religion had done a good job
of instilling guilt and anxiety in me.
As parents, the choices we make do affect our children.
The recurring message in the Old Testament about the iniquity
of the parents being visited upon the children is realistic. Yet I
also know that if there are things we desire to do differently
and change within our own nuclear families, this can happen.
Rather than repeat or rebel, there is a third way. We can
mindfully choose to carry forward those things that we value
from our own childhood and at the same time make shifts
around the things we want to shed. Very often, the impetus for