Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Questions Lead Me Onward and Outward

The Journal of a Suburban Mom of Three

Anyone could, or at least any mother could, conceivably write this book/blog. Although I guess not the mothers I have seen in very different life situations. Ones who lack free time and extra money because they are simply seeking water and food for their children each and every day. So the musings of a suburban mom, and more specifically, this suburban Mom in particular may only esoterically apply to other such suburban Moms. Moms like me who awake to a new day of shuttling kids around manicured cities in minivans equipped with DVD players, and with children equipped with high potential due to full stomachs and security to enable self actualization. Moms who like me hope that such a world of contentment and play will not result in the dulling of my kids hearts or a heighten their sense of entitlement.
But even in this world of seeming #thirdworldproblems, like for example my son’s most recent question, “Mom, is there WiFi here?”, deeper questions do emerge. Not only do our children ask harder questions then the one above but also simply living within American culture brings up parenting, marital, and spiritual questions within our own adult minds. Questions about how to teach our kids about sexuality, spirituality, materialism, healthy living, romance, and adventure resound as we go about our day to day routines. At times answers or truths come to each parent along the road of raising kids or even just as maturing as an adult. Perhaps if these snippets of wisdom could be strung together we could collectively change the world. In my life of 36 years I’ve realized a few such moments of clarity. Sometimes they have occurred at the valley floor of Yosemite, watching a bear climb down out of an apple tree. Other times they have occurred while wading through a garbage marsh in a rainstorm in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Often they occur while going on an adventure with my kids in my arms or on my back (and not by leaving them at home with a babysitter). So this book/blog is written to share what I have found raising kids into adventure and into as much real connection to nature and with others. My husband is my co-pilot and co-adventurer on this epic journey of marriage, parenting, and life. He plays a key role, as do my 3 children.
Each chapter will likely start with a question. Perhaps one my child asked of me. Perhaps another that was asked by a well-meaning but disapproving cultural observer. For in reality, my husband and I are trying to swim up and against the current of American materialism. This means we often encounter the questions of those befuddled by our choice: “Why not let your children cry it out? Why bring your children to a 3rd world country? Are you still nursing even though he is 2? Where is the TV?” As we forge in a different direction then American culture we are also living within the context of Christian America. Within this subculture we also tend to swim against currents or attempt to shift the current. We know we are flawed and do not necessarily have all the answers. But we are also confident that our kids are learning and so are we; while we are out hiking on a new adventure we wish more parents were with us. Lastly, some chapters in this book will simply show personal questions we have asked ourselves and the shifting conclusions we have come to on matters of intimacy in our marriage, addressing infidelity, career changes, and church changes. Living a life, or in similar fashion, writing a book, is truly an act of just asking new questions. As soon as you have all the answers life ends. So enter into the journey of humbly asking new questions and expecting shifting answers. As you read, answer some of the questions within. How can you come to new places of wisdom and do the adventures you go on help fuel these new truths. Hopefully together we can bring you someplace new.

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