There’s no doubt parenting is an extreme act. It may be common, but the intensity it requires is matched by nothing else. Like most people, I’m passionate about my parenting beliefs; and as a writer, I know the importance of clearly staking an opinion. But when I read parenting blog posts, I often have a lurking feeling, a feeling that things are not that extreme. We can all have opinions about sugar, diapers, TV, clothes, baby proofing. In fact, I think we all do. But even in an opinion, there’s always room for exceptions, teaching our children that “there’s a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecc 3:1).
Ecclesiastes has long been one of my favorite books. It’s a dark book about drudgery, but it’s laced with wisdom and whimsy. It’s a book of paradox, of tension. Perhaps the best example of this is the famous chapter 3.
Here is a revamped version of that passage:
The Middle Course in Motherhood.
There’s a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.
There’s a time to eat veggies and a time to indulge in treats.
A time to be strict and a time to be silly.
A time to be protected and a time to push.
A time to correct and a time to be graceful.
A time to console and a time to move on.
A time for being with your children and a time for a break.
A time for play groups and a time for solitude.
A time for outdoors and a time for T.V.
A time for new things and a time for normalcy.
A time for organic, all-natural and cloth and a time for store-bought and easy.
A time to put up a gate and a time to tear down.
A time for a new toy and a time to give some away.
A time for coddling and cuddling and a time for letting go and letting be.
A time for cleaning up and a time for dressing down.
What do kids really need from their parents? I have thought about this in connection with the various kinds of parenting God has given people to do. God has made everything beautiful for its own time.