Thursday, August 28, 2008

Read the Introduction to SEASON OF CHANGE!

Below is the introduction to my new book, Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose. The book is now available everywhere!

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My thirteen-year-old daughter, Danya, was scrambling around her messy room, trying to pack for youth camp. I went in to see if I could help her get ready, but I stumbled over my offer when I saw “Mimi” wadded up on her bed, obviously not to be included in the packing.

“Mimi” was Danya’s baby blanket. While she continued gathering her things, I went unnoticed to her bed, picked up Mimi, fluffed it out, and remembered its beginnings.

I was a new mom with a fussy baby, who, the pediatrician assured me, did not have colic. Night after night I had rocked, paced, and prayed for my crying little one to go to sleep. Night after night we stayed up. Getting her to sleep didn’t seem to be the problem—it was keeping her asleep! Every time I tried to put her down, she would wake up and begin crying again.

Then one night, despite my sleepless stupor, I realized that Danya was holding on to my pink, satiny nursing gown. Whenever I put her down, she lost her grip and woke up. So that night, as I put her in her crib, I didn’t peel her fingers from my gown. Instead, I peeled the gown off and laid it in the crib with her. Ah, success! A victory born of desperation but a victory nonetheless!

Now, sitting on Danya’s bed holding Mimi and my memories, I realized for the first time that when I scampered off for a clean gown and the comfort of sleep that night, I had just put some distance between my baby and me. It was necessary, to be sure. But it was a huge step of separation, independence, and helping my baby grow up. Now here we were, thirteen years later, and Danya was going to camp—leaving Mimi behind. Unashamed, Mimi had gone everywhere else with this kid: her grandparents’ house, family vacations, even sleepovers and slumber parties. But Mimi wasn’t going to youth camp. This time, Danya was taking her own step of separation, independence, and growing up.

“So,” I began, stroking Mimi and cradling it in my arms, “I guess this means you don’t get to go to youth camp, Mimi.”

Mohhhhm!”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a seventh-grader. Now what?

The greatest challenge of these middle years is that of helping our children make their faith their own—not something we have peeled off and given them as security. Not a piece of ourselves. Certainly, our children are mosaics of us. They contain fragments of our own convictions and insecurities. They are endowed with many of our own strengths and weaknesses. Forever, they will be linked to the parents who raised them.

When it comes to faith, however, a piece of ours must only serve as an influence, an inspiration, and an impression—not an inheritance. A personal relationship with Christ cannot be earned or inherited. A child’s faith is independent of his parent’s. It must be separate and distinct. While our children depend on us to introduce them to Christ, to make His Lordship known in our lives, and to make His presence known in our homes, we must depend on His Holy Spirit to do the work of transforming their lives individually.

Parenting itself oversees a series of transformations. I used to parent newborns. Within the blink of an eye, I was taking care of toddlers. Then I had preschoolers, and on it went, as my kids grew at breakneck speed. Even today, as quickly as I get accustomed to one phase of growth, those children disappear, only to be replaced by taller, prettier, stronger versions. Smarter, too.

Each new stage calls for evaluation, goal-setting, and prayer—lots of prayer! As the middle years approach, motherhood is all the more challenging. Adulthood is within view, inching closer with every moment that passes, and so, I have to ask myself some questions: What is each child holding on to? Have I planted enough seeds of Jesus to keep her hand tightly gripping His? Or will she lose her grip on Him once I let go of her?

Because eventually, inevitably, I will have to let go.



Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca Ingram Powell. All rights reserved.

4 comments:

My ADHD Me said...

What do you mean "we will have to let go"!! That wasn't in the documents.

Let go! as in let them succeed (and fail) on their own???

Terrifying!!

Chatty Kelly said...

I can't wait until your blog tour!

My ADHD Me said...

I think I am going to need to get your book. I have one going into 7th grade also.....I'm sure I need all the help I can get!

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

Yay! adhd, I would LOVE for you to get a copy!

CK, I'm excited about the blog tour, too!

I'm telling y'all, some of the questions I'm getting are pretty tough! I'm looking forward to seeing how I answer them! LOL :)

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