Sing Your Own Song 4

Stop playing the songs in your lives that aren’t pointing you toward your family and your family’s well-being. Just because you know the words isn’t a good enough reason to keep playing songs you’ve outgrown in your life. 

Maria Goff

I was a parent in the nineties–back in the day before Netflix, Instagram, and yummy mummies. Back in the day, parenting was tough, but  being a parent in today’s insta-perfect, comparison-filled world seems more conflicted.

It’s easy to think that every day of your life has to be photo-worthy or fit some judgement of what it is to be a twenty-first century family.

When my kids used to complain and say that some other family did things differently, I’d tell them,

‘This is what our family does. This is who our family is. This is who we want you to be.’ 

My husband and I did parenting our way. We talked to our kids like adults and didn’t have TV for first few years. We really had no idea what we were doing and we didn’t even have the internet to consult back then. 

Perspective is a wonderful thing and you only get that fully once you get to the other side. 

We had to sing our own song when it came to parenting our two children. 

When my son was in Year Three, I found out he couldn’t read. He used to ask why he couldn’t read and called himself a loser. I was determined that he would not reach high school and struggle.  We tried many ways of helping him through learning difficulties. We withdrew him from school every Wednesday afternoon for three years to take him to a private tutor.

The school agreed and allowed me to do it. We’d shifted when he was in Year Four from a Christian school to a Catholic school because of what we felt he needed.  This was a decision many others couldn’t agree with, but it was the best choice for our boy.

Finally, in Year Seven we felt he had caught up enough with his peers not to feel inferior. The first time he sat up in bed with me and read his own book while I read mine, brings tears to my eyes even now. When he won an academic award at Year Seven Graduation I felt like all the effort was worth it.

He studied Commerce and is now working in a great job in an area he loves. He had to learn to work hard and be responsible for his own progress too. 

No matter how good a school or the teachers are, no one fights for your child like you and no one teaches them more about life than you.

We did things our way. The only way we knew how. If I’d been caught up in the Instagram perfection of today, I don’t think I’d have coped. It was bad enough to have seemingly perfect mums and families around me without any perspective. 

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

My encouragement to you today is: Go be your family, not someone else’s.

Try to focus your time on doing things that serve and advance the most lasting and beautiful of your ambitions for your family.  

Figure out what those are for you, and your family and do more of that.

Figure out where God has planted you, how he has wired you, and then launch out from there.

Even now, I’ve taken apps off my phone and try to avoid comparison. 

I’m still singing my song in my own way. 

You have wisdom sown into you and ways of doing things. Trust the confidence God has put into you. 

Don’t compare yourself to any other family. 

Every family structure is different. 

Do what’s good for your own family. 

Sing your own song.

About Elaine Fraser

Elaine realised she wanted to be a writer at ten years of age when the words flew off the page during a creative writing lesson. She studied English and Education at university and went on to spend many years as a high school English teacher teaching others how to write. In 2005, Elaine took the plunge and began writing full-time. Since then she has published five books and blogs at Elaine’s passion is to write about real issues with a spiritual edge. When she’s not travelling the world in search of quirky bookstores or attending writing retreats in exotic locations, she can be found in the Perth hills sitting in her library—writing, reading, mentoring writers and hugging her golden retriever.

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