Thursday, December 2, 2010

courageous parenting

Recently, I have met some people who have been shocked that I have seven children.
Actually, to be honest every where I go I meet people who are shocked that I have seven children.

It is mind boggling to them that I would even attempt to raise that many children and have questioned me on the why? and how? of it all.

I have so many answers to these question's {which I think I should delve into another time} and one comment that I hear often {besides are you insane, crazy and amazing!} is that I must have courage to have such a large family.

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.
It is to find strength in the face of pain or grief.
It is doing what is right and letting the consequences follow.

When I started out wanting to have a big family I did not feel brave or strong or courageous.
I did not feel I needed to have a strong pain threshold or to be acquainted with grief and suffering.
I had no idea what was in store for me and ignorance was bliss in helping bring children into my home.

After having my first daughter, I knew that having a large family was going to take courage.

I would have to face my fears of what others thought of me, said to me and that I would need to deal with the emotional, physical and mental pains that came my way the best way I knew how. I knew I was going to have to stand up for what I believed was right in mothering my children and to stand alone if I needed to.

"What the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers...
who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand." 
Larry Lawrence.

This led me to brainstorm about what courage we really need as mothers and parents.

it takes courage to bring a child into the world
it takes courage to share your body to give life
it takes courage to face the unknown of birth
it takes courage to accept the cherub given to you
it takes courage to open your heart
it takes courage to let go
it takes courage to ask for help
it takes courage to learn new skills
it takes courage to teach and train
it takes courage to give up your personal time
it takes courage to speak up
it takes courage to intervene
it takes courage to trust your instincts
it takes courage to say no
it takes courage to say yes
it takes courage to turn off the tv and computer
it takes courage to protect your family time
it takes courage to believe
it takes courage to listen closely
it takes courage to counsel without fear of offending
it takes courage to be not afraid
it takes courage to warn
it takes courage to address problems
it takes courage to follow through with consequences
it takes courage to support each other {as parents}
it takes courage to wait up late for children
it takes courage to respect their feelings
it takes courage to not over schedule
it takes courage to love unconditionally
it takes courage to do what is right
it takes courage to stand alone against peer pressure

I love a quote by Joe J. Christensen:
"parenting is not a popularity contest."

As much as I love my children and it is important for me to be great friends with them, I also understand my role is to parent them

I have had many days where I was seriously out numbered with resistance in the values I was trying to teach, the discipline and consequences I had to follow through on and in protecting my family from too many good choices. I have faced many lessons the hard way on what is going to work for our family, felt like the most unpopular mother in the world and discovered the importance of not taking words, looks and attitude personally!

With young children we need courage to:
let them learn, play and explore
to let them grow and develop and 
to discipline.

With teenagers we need courage to:
set standards, stand up for them and protect them
to prepare them and warn them of life situations and
to love them unconditionally.

With adults we need courage to:
step back and support their choices
to provide words of wisdom and to let them learn from their own mistakes
to cherish their achievements and be actively involved in their lives.

As mothers we are courageous, we face challenges on a daily basis.
They come from inside our home and from outside it.
Decisions are constantly before us and we wisely try to direct our family the best way we can.
Our role is eternal, divine and essential.


  1. Hi Naomi,
    I'm not a link-worthy SMum today but had to comment on this post as it is brimful of wisdom.

    I totally agree with you on the need for courage and compassion to parent.
    It is very tempting to print out the quote by JJ Christensen and put it on the fridge [I might also blu-tak it to our ensuite mirror!].

    There is SO much in today's post that resonates but I particularly love that you have shared the different types of courage required as we parent all the way through a person's life. It's not just about bringing a 'little' person into the world, there is a lifetime of guidance and love required.

    I am grateful for my own parents who have given to me many gifts. Their courage to stay true to their values as I was growing up and particularly when I was a rambunctious teenager is a treasure which only hindsight can reveal.

    A huge hug to you courageous one,

    Felicity x

  2. That is a fantastic post! And yes, I think it does take courage and a lot of patience to raise a large family, well any family but surely the more children you have the more reserves you need. LOL

  3. This is an absolutely amazing post and I simply love it! You put it, "mothering", into such truthful poetic words. Mothering isn't easy; it isn't full of "I love you's", kisses, and "thank you's". It is a job, nonetheless, and a tough one at that.

    I think one of the toughest parts of being a mom is following that 6th sense God gave us. No one, other than God Himself, but mama can know whats best for our kids. Making tough decisions is-well-tough! And it should be...we are raising, molding, teaching, and greating warriors for Jesus. It's a big job...but I'm glad God trusted me to do it!!

  4. I get SO many comments about having 4 kids so I can imagine what you must get with 7! :)

    I really love your Mothers Heart posts. You share your feelings with honesty, experience and wisdom and your words always uplift and inspire me in my role as a mother!

    I think that courageous parenting is much like conscious parenting. Making decisions on HOW we are going to raise our children and being absolutely true to that. Even when it's hard. especially when it's hard. Thanks for this most important reminder and everything you share on your lovely blog.


  5. Great post, and so very true. I think you are courageous to have seven children, and I think people mean it when they, (and I now) say "I don't know how you do it". Because I don't know. The crazy comments are because they don't know that they could manage it all. I think comments like that are more about them than they are about you. But you manage a large family because you have to and it's what you know, I get that. So congratulations on having such an amazing family!

    Love the Christmas blog header too!

  6. I have five children, now adults and have learned so much through it all. When people used to say to me - how? I said 'one at a time'. That made the most sense to me as it is a journey not just five instant kids, instant problems or instant anything...and I always knew that somehow God would provide, materially and with His wisdom when I needed it. And He did....and still does!

  7. I love this post. About half way through your courage brainstorming list is where I am sitting right now: protecting family time. It is really becoming obvious to me and is the subject of my contribution to your linky (IF I get the time to write it today ;).

    I get judged for having "just" one child - obviously, strangers who observe our family don't know of our first daughter - in a similar way to that which you are for your large family. Therefore, I'd suggest the only thing missing off that courage list is that it takes courage not to judge/size up others and make assumptions and pre-conceptions about how it is for anyone else. It really does take diligence to practice this properly.

  8. battling tummy bug atm but didn't want to miss this, I have linked to a way old post for this week but will do better next week! Will also catch up on reading posts soon :)

  9. Such a thoughtful and insightful post, Naomi. I found it really moving. Thanks so much for putting into words the feelings I often have. J x

  10. Wonderful post Naomi, you are certainly wise and I love the way to convey it to us. I think it takes courage to even think about being a parent. To think that there might be room in your heart and mind for another being.

    As a side note, my hubby is the youngest of seven children himself. I am the oldest of two. People are constantly surprised of his big family. I think its great. Whats even better is that his mum treats them all the same and treats her 17 grandchildren the same.

    I am truly blessed.

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog today!
    What a beautiful post and a beautiful family you have.
    Enjoy the day,

  12. What a wonderful post! My wife and I were just having a conversation about this last night.

  13. I know that I'm clear across the world and missing much of your linking, but I do enjoy your posts...I know what you mean...even here in Mormon valley I get all kinds of comments from people about the size of my family, mostly looks of insanity! Once in a while though, there comes down my path someone who truly understands what it takes to be a mother of a large family...I relish in their comments of love, gratitude and admiration!

  14. Love this post. I have found that it takes a lot of courage to have a lot of kids because it is so socially wrong. It also takes courage to have your girls dress modestly and all of these other good healthy things that just aren't popular. Anyway, thanks for the nice post. It does help to hear about other moms with many children.

  15. What a super post. I was pleased to realise I have had the courage to do all those things at one time or another. You are definately right we are parents first and friends second.

    I love your new blog header!

    Mich x

  16. thanks for all your wonderful comments and additional insights.

    so lovely to know there are many other parents out there who are being courageous as they are raising their children.

    keep up the great work everyone!

    Naomi xx

  17. well written!

    and I can't imagine the comments and looks you get because I get them over my 4 and I think of 4 as normal but people think otherwise so I imagine 7 means people really look and ask questions!!!


  18. Thank you so much for this post. I just found your blog from MMB and am so glad I did. Lately the Lord has been changing my heart in an incredible way. I use to think I just wanted three kids but now I am willing to take everyone he sends me. I've been praying to find another mother who has more than 5 kids. It scares me because I don't know very many women with big families but I think that is what I want for mine. So thank you for this post and for your blog. It was just what I needed!

  19. this post is very usefull thx!

  20. I'm too late for the link up, but this is still a truthful, helpful, wonderful post!

  21. What a brilliant post! Definitely a good pick for the Hear Mum Roar proud post!

    I wanna print this out and give it to my Mothers' Group!

  22. Beautiful sentiments in this post, I really enjoyed reading it!

  23. I love this post, Naomi! Thank you!

    PS. Thank for participating in our little carnival. Do you mind if I feature this post on AMB?

  24. great post! i have heard that courage is when you do something although you are afraid of it. you overcome the fear because it's what you need to do. yes, i would be intimidated and in awe to meet a mum of 7 when I already am overwhelmed by my ONE child (aka Tornado, 5). but most of us would be secretly jealous too, because today it has become just too easy to find 100 excuses NOT to have a big family when, in the end, that would be a total dream of many.
    cheers to you and all brave parents, if it's 1, 2, 3 or 7 children they bravely lead into this world :)


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