Raising “normal” kids

By March 5, 2014Get Inspired

Note from Kat: This post is from my very inspiring friend and monthly contributor Liz Griffin.

IMG_2284 Looking at a Picasso because going to art museums is normal for Griffins.

Last Friday I got to have coffee with Kat. We only live about a mile apart and every so often we meet up to watch Downton Abbey or talk blogs. We laughed a lot, I learned a lot and my heart was full when I was headed home. I actually arrived at my house to find that my husband had spent that two hours deep cleaning our house and folding all the laundry. It was his day off and he was cleaning. Bizarre right? Not for Jady.

To my husband keeping a house clean is normal. I’m not really sure how she did it being a mother of three boys, but my mother-in-law ran a strictly clean and organized house. Put a cup down and 30 seconds later it is in the dishwasher. Jady is the same way. He can whip the house into shape in no time flat because he grew up that way. But, back to my hanging out with Kat…

During my coffee with Kat I was telling her about my trip to Burundi, Africa in a few weeks. ( We are in the process of adopting a sibling group from there. More on that in another post sometime! ) I will be flying by myself to Africa and back, meeting our program director in the capital city and spending my time there traveling to various orphanages around the area.

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Love getting to be real-life friends with Kat. And I am highly envious of her ability to look good in hats.

Kat’s response has been the response of everyone. “Are you nervous going to a developing country all by yourself???” The answer is no, I’m not. Because I grew up traveling with my family to developing countries and spending time in orphanages and poverty-stricken areas. It is completely normal to me.

Over the past few weeks I have explained this reality to many people and I have come to an obvious but profound conclusion for me. What is “normal” to me, isn’t “normal” to you. And vice versa.

My family never had nice cars or a big house, but I knew what lemonade tasted like in Egypt and what Guatemala smelled like right before it rained. Having children who saw the world and were actively involved in missions was a priority for my family. That meant we didn’t spend lots of money on extra-curricular activities, didn’t have cable or go out to eat often. And that was normal to me.

Every family has their own “normal”. Going to college, traveling, doing community service, being athletic or keeping a perfectly clean house. In some families it is normal for everyone to learn an instrument or to workout.

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My kids at a Baylor game. Because being a Baylor fan is our normal. Can I get an amen???

As moms we have the opportunity to create what “normal” is for our kids. What an amazing thing to help craft and shape. Their view of what following Jesus looks like, having a healthy marriage looks like, what they eat, how they handle conflict, where their money is spent, the types of friendships they have. We get to define what is normal for them.

There isn’t a right or wrong “normal” and one isn’t better than the other. I’m glad I traveled the world and I am equally glad my husband is hyper-clean. Both are blessings. Both reflect the family cultures we came from.

I’ve been personally challenged these past few weeks to be more intentional in the ways I am shaping my kid’s “normal”. I’d like to encourage you to think and pray about what you value most as a family and how to help develop that in your kids.

So, when you get up early this week to read your Bible or when you shuttle kids to choir practice realize that you are actually creating your family’s culture. And that is no small thing mamas.

Side Note: If you’d like to pray for my trip and adoption, I’d love it! Our family’s adoption blog is The Six Griffins and I will be posting on Instagram  (@larkandbloom) throughout the trip, so you can follow along there!

 20130218-193106.jpgElizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She lives in Texas with her husband and two little kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her over at Lark & Bloom or on Twitter @larkandbloom.

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  • We are moving our three kids into a double-decker school bus (we’ll be with them, of course) while we build a house on our own land. “Normal” doesn’t really ring a bell with us as far as taking risks and achieving goals and… pretty much every other part of life 🙂

  • Such truth about the normal- some of our normal are things we can’t control, like a chronically ill husband/dad and search efforts for my missing brother.

    But how we let that impact us is the normal we choose. And for us, we choose a lot of things that make us very happy in the moments where we aren’t being driven by the other. But I still have the opportunity to choose other things as part of our ‘normal’ and need to be much more intentional about that.

    • Liz Griffin says:

      Anita, I love the point you made. We can’t always choose our circumstances but we can choose how we respond to them. I looked at your blog and will be praying for both your husband and the search for your brother. Blessings!
      – Liz

  • Elizabeth says:

    We have internationals in our home all the time (and go into theirs as well) and my two daughters are growing up thinking that is normal. I was just reflecting on that the other day and love the way you put it into words! My husband and I are both Aggies but we live in Austin and being on the UT campus (spending time with our internationals) is normal-oh no, not really intentional, but so much more purposeful than worrying about old rivalries!

  • […] Raising “normal” kids | Inspired to Action […]

  • Love this. I’m not a mom, but it makes me think even about my own normal with my husband–our little family. Some good food for thought.
    It also reminds me of someone that spoke to my study abroad group while we were in Cuba. He worked for Witness for Peace. He told us about growing up with hippie parents…and it made me chuckle when he said of his childhood, “I was thinking everyone goes to protests in front of nuclear power plants.” That was his normal!

  • […] Raising “Normal” Kids :: Inspired to Action – I love, loved this post. It made me want to bundle my girls up and go for lemonade in Egypt. It also made me love our normal. […]