The footings

My mom always sends me articles that are relevant to my stage in life, my interests or things she thinks will inspire.

This past week, she sent me one on parenting (as they often are) entitled
“Bringing Up Our Children in Light and Truth” by Wallace Goddard.

It’s a three part series, so I’m looking forward to the remaining pieces! However, one part in this article struck me. He compares parenting to building a house:

“The Footings: The Flourishing Parent:
At the base of any substantial structure are the footings or footers. This substantial course of concrete is generally wider than the foundation and assures that the foundation (and the entire structure) will not settle and crack. The integrity of the structure depends on the strength and solidity of those footings.

What are the footings of parenting? What does the entire structure rest on? I believe the footings are each parent’s state of mind and quality of character. Parenting scholars often speak of the concept of “parent care for self,” meaning a parent must be a healthy, balanced human in order to be a good parent. A miserable, unhappy person is not likely to be an excellent parent. In spiritual terms, when we are not built on a rock, the storms of parenting will wash us away. When we are built upon the rock of our Redeemer, we are solid.

…A dead tree trunk cannot nourish the branches. A troubled, hostile, bitter parent will find it difficult or impossible to deliver life-sustaining truth and goodness to children. A person who is spiritually alive and growing is more likely to be what I call a flourishing parent, capable of nourishing children and helping them thrive and grow.

I love this! Especially as my kids are getting older. How can I be the best parent? Yes, I can support, love, encourage, guide, teach, and discipline them. However, the most important thing I can do is ensure I am solid. That I am built on a rock: a rock of principle, integrity, values, determination, and character. That they can see that despite the challenges and storms we will weather together, I am always there ready to take on the challenge with them.

It is also a reminder to not let “me” slide. I need to continue to grow, be challenged, be supported, give and receive and make sure I am being fed emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.

I then need to make sure that I am not letting the “we”, as in Rob and me, slide. We need to be strong as a couple and communicating as we both form the footings to our foundation. I’m so glad that while we often have different viewpoints, and certainly have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses, that for the fundamentals, we are on the same page and are building the footings together. But this relationship needs to be prioritized, nourished and strengthened to ensure everything else built on it is secure.

It’s a lot of work to ensure those footings are there, but without them, the whole house could not survive the storms that we know we will all face as a family. This knowledge helps me especially when I’m choosing how to prioritize my time and energy, which seems to be a constant struggle these days….


The footings — 4 Comments

  1. I appreciate that you talked about your marriage as an important foundation for parenting. I’m a firm believer in nurturing that relationship as much as you nurture your children. And you’re right, it’s definitely a struggle sometimes!
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