Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bringing Up Bebe

I have a spiritual conviction against reading parenting books. And self help books. And devotionals.

Actually I don't. I just remember growing up with all kinds of people having spiritual convictions for and against various and sundry things. From clothes to food to habits. Anyway, I don't hear that terminology very often anymore. So I decided to give it some online time. Air it out in the daylight.

While I don't have a spiritual conviction against parenting manuals and self-help tomes and devotionals, I do have an aversion towards them. I'd match rather get my guidance from flesh and blood people or the Word of God. And I'd rather spend my reading time reading something more fictional.

Curiously enough, 2012 was probably the year that marked my reading more devotionals and self-help books than the rest of my life combined. I read very little fiction. My book reading time was spent on thought provoking biographies, plus some great life books like 168 Hours and Work Shift.

My 2013 non-fiction reads were kicked off with a parenting book! I know! This just might be the first parenting book I have EVER read. No joke!

I had heard much over the blogosphere about Bringing Up Bebe (here), plus I had read an excerpt in a magazine or something. I decided that I had to break my tongue in cheek conviction and read this book.

I read all 263 pages in less than a week. The week before we left on our trip. Which, come to think of it, is probably why packing was such a challenge.

This is a good book. It is well written and very readable. Pamela Druckerman is a reporter who lives is Paris. From the moment she conceived she saw huge differences between American parenting styles and the French parenting style.

One of the first differences is that there are several polar opposite parenting styles here in the West. Each have its own merits and downfalls. Each incite much passion in their proponents.

In France there is one parenting style, based on years and years of tradition. And, I found that my parenting style is actually very similar to the French one. Maybe it is because I have a French name. Or maybe its because I parent like my parents parented-when there weren't quite so many options.

There was a lot of whys and wherefores that resonated with me. I learned a few techniques that I have been trying. Meres has grown in to an emotional eater. Basically, if she is crying, someone in the family thinks she must be hungry, so they give her a snack. Not any more. She is on a breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner schedule.

I loved the chapter on The Pause. Don't immediately pick up your child if they are crying. Wait just a minute or two. I had learned this at night with all my kids. But, it is a great practice in the daytime too. It teaches parents discernment and kids patience.

I liked the chapters on meals and eating-just keep giving babies adult food. I was reminded that I need to praise my kids more. And the concept of cadre was enlightening, and something I need to incorporate even more.

There were chapters on nursing, birthing, daycare and postpartum body reshaping. I read it all, and am still pondering some of the info. Sifting.

My struggle in parenting is finding the balance between me and my kids. Being generous and unselfish myself, and teaching them the same. Teaching them to share.

As a Christian, I am trying to parent according to how God parents me. God has parameters and rules, but He is also the most loving, generous, unselfish Being that has ever existed. I am trying to find my direction in the Scripture. Both for my character and my kids'.

Bringing Up Bebe is not written by a Christian, nor from a Christian perspective. I don't think that this disqualifies it as a great book. But, all of Pamela Druckerman's philosophies, or the French philosophies, are not my philosophies or even goals, because they are not pulling them from Scripture.

A shared goal of Pamela Druckerman and Barefoot Hippie Girl is to raise our children to be independent and successful adults. Adults who don't feel the entire world revolves around them.

But, I also have other goals for my children. I want to raise them with a worldview that corresponds with God's view of the world. I want to cultivate in my children a love for God and a desire to serve and glorify God with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength. I want to encourage them to love their neighbor as they love themselves.

These additional goals means that  can't accept the book part and parcel. I must weigh and sift.

Does that make sense?

Which is why I commented on Ann's post yesterday (here), that our conclusion is the same. We need to weigh all parenting advice and philosophies by Scripture. If it doesn't agree with Scripture, we need to leave it.

If there is no discrepancy with Scripture, feel free to apply whatever philosophy you want.

Which is what I am doing with Bringing Up Bebe. And, by the way, I highly recommend this book. I may actually purchase it to reference later. I know...sliding down the slippery slope.

Have you read Bringing Up Bebe? What is the best takeaway point you got from it? Do you read parenting books? Why or why not?

By the way, Happy Valentine's Day! 
Here is a picture of Me and My Valentine, Mr. Hippie, in Balmy Borneo.
Love You, Babe! XOXOXO