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.