Authority is so necessary for parenting in today ‘s fast-paced world. Authority, sharing its root with words such as authentic and author, gives us the number one way to guide our children into peace.
It is not a big house, or a small house.
It is not the amount of money we have or don’t have.
It is not what activities our children are enrolled in or not.
It is how we connect to our children through authority.
Authority is a special way of holding the space for our children in such a way that the child can enter fully and wholly into the world without anxiety, worry or distress. They do not have to enter into the adult world but can be an innocent in childhood play and the childhood repetition of play, work, being outside, submersed in the rhythm of the year.
The challenge of our times is that so many of us grew up in homes where our parents were busy with their own needs, where we were latch-key children coming home to empty house, where our own needs were not looked at closely or lovingly. Or, conversely, perhaps we were expected to be seen and not heard.
Therefore, we vow not to repeat any of those things with our children. We try to connect with them, but sometimes in such a totally adult way, it infringes upon the world of the child. Or we retreat and don’t intrude at all, thereby offering no guidance to the child. Both ways are opposite ends of a boundary spectrum.
However, the healthiest connection to our children can only be held by authority. This is not done by having boundaries that are so regulated and infringing that it is almost enmeshing and picky over every thing a child does. And it is not done by having no boundaries and mere observation or turning away.
Authority, to me, is about being the author of a beautiful family life. It is being okay with being the author of picking the family’s activities, your child’s playmates,. to set up a beautiful rhythm to life, to limit unwholesome choices, and yes, to give children the freedom they need to work and to show them how to work and be industrious within the home and the community. This is so important in the stages of goodness in the years birth through seven where the world is a good place and in the ages of seven to fourteen, where the world should be seen as a beautiful place with strong heroes, strong role models to emulate. The age grouping so often commercially marketed as “tweens” are not yet in the third seven year cycle and as such still need special protection and boundaries.
How do you feel about being the author of your family’s life?
It is a special challenge of our times to not carry our own baggage about authority into the lives of our children, and so worth the time to figure out within ourselves and with our other adult family members how we feel about this and how to work with it.
Many blessings and much love,