My dear friend Shelly Widman is launching her first book today! This is always a big event which is the result of years of work, a.k.a. burning the midnight oil to address edits you may not even agree with, but your publisher insists on, hours of praying for the right words etc. Giving birth to a book can be painful, but when the arrival shines its beautiful front cover face into the world it’s so worth it. And…her book is fantastic. I respect Shelly and her husband because they’ve successfully raised all their kids to love Jesus and serve him– no small feat in our day. Her book provides an intentional look into the why behind what we do as parents rather than the how. She also gives some great tips that I can still incorporate into our home even though our kids are older. Below are some thoughts from Shelly about why she wrote the book and links to getting it on Amazon or at your favorite local bookstore.
I have a confession to make: I wasn’t the girl who always wanted to be a mom. I know lots of women who have dreamed of being a mother since they were little girls, who always cuddled and nurtured their baby dolls, and who played house for hours on end with anyone who would join them.
When I was a little girl, I lined up chairs, made worksheets, and played school. My poor baby dolls and stuffed animals sat in a classroom all day rather than getting cuddled! I always wanted to be a teacher; unfortunately, being a mom was not exactly on my radar.
So when I had kids, I found myself in waaaaay over my head. My husband and I had no idea what we were doing. We found ourselves reacting to situations as they came up, rather than planning ahead for what we wanted to see in our kids.
And when we consulted parenting books, we found that many gave us pat answers to the many complex questions that we had about raising our daughters. We didn’t need to be told how to raise our kids, we needed to step back and ask why?
Why were we doing what we were doing?
Why should we emphasize certain values? Were there others we should consider?
Why are we even here?
Here’s what we realized: asking why gets to our motivations. Asking why goes deeper than simply asking how. Asking why helps us understand our purpose and helps lead us to ways we can go about fulfilling that purpose.
Asking why makes us more intentional.
A couple of years ago I read a book that has really stayed with me. It’s called You Are What You Love, by James K.A. Smith. In this book, Smith helps his readers understand that where we spend our time, our money, and our efforts reveals much about our hearts. What I took away from the book was that the things we emphasize in our homes are the things that are ultimately important to us.
Are we encouraging our kids to worship? Why?
Are we spending all of our time running around from activity to activity? Why?
Are we talking about big, important cultural issues with our kids from a biblical perspective? Why?
. . . or why not?
Smith would say that we emphasize, or spend time on, those things that we love. If we take a look at our lives and what we’re pouring into our kids, what do we see?
As a young mom, I knew that we were here for so much more than just a shared existence, and that’s what prompted me to really look into the “why” of our family life. And beyond that, the “why” as to what we were doing to disciple our kids—the spiritual values that we were trying to instill in them.
Asking why helped us come a little closer to the purpose of our family. And that changed everything for us.