"Mom Says/Dad Says," an exclusive Christian parental advice column by Gregory Slayton, former U.S. Ambassador to Bermuda and author of the best-selling book Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs, and his wife, Marina Slayton, author of the new book Be The Best Mom You Can Be. The Slaytons have been featured on Fox and Friends, Focus on the Family Radio and numerous other media outlets. They donate 100% of their royalties from parenting books to fatherhood and family nonprofits.
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback and Pastors Tim Keller and Luis Palau, among others, have endorsed the Slaytons. In their exclusive series for The Christian Post, both Marina and Gregory will answer thoughtful Christian parents seeking to raise their children up in the goodness of the Gospel and the Glory of God. If you would like to have Marina and Gregory answer your questions, please contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are about to have a baby and I have been reading lots of books on raising kids. Our library stocks a book written by an award-winning author titled All Joy and No fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. The writer's premise is that modern research supposedly supports the idea that childless couples are happier than couples with children. You have four children, do you agree?
I have not read the book but last year I happened to listen to a long radio interview with the author. The author has one child younger than 5, and she clearly did not have a mature view of parenting. As for the current "research" on families — sorry, I am rather cynical about university research. During my graduate studies at Columbia University it was evident how sociological research is frequently biased by the researcher's own prejudices and the often self-selecting nature of participants. We must take it with a big grain of salt. Frankly, I think the research is deeply flawed.
Gregory and I have had our struggles in marriage, but it is undeniable that our kids have been a huge net blessing.
With our three eldest, all in their 20s, we now have so many wonderful memories. So many touchstones in life would be empty without our children: the holidays for instance. We all cook our favorite dishes and we discuss the menu weeks in advance. We have candles and champagne and lots of laughter around the holiday table. How sad would it have been not to have little hands tear through the gift paper or older kids who can go to the forest to pick out the best Christmas tree?
I love my husband — he is a fascinating man and we really do enjoy each other, but we absolutely love it when the older kids come home. Phone conversations with the three who no longer live with us and outings with our teenager who makes me realize that we are not ready to be empty nesters. We are passing our lives unto the next generation and it is good.
Sure there have been struggles with our kids — lots of them. To be honest some have not been resolved. The truth is that all people are annoying at times, even our beloved kids.
But that is the true beauty of family. Loving and caring for each other no matter what. Being there for each other in thick and thin.
This brings me to my second point, happiness is transitory. But joy depends on your vision for your life and how well you are building toward that vision. On a macro level, Gregory and I felt called to have children and to build a strong family. That has been part of God's calling on our lives. Not the only calling but an important calling nevertheless. To not answer that calling would have strongly impacted our purpose in life, and not in a positive way.
Gregory and I know we are leading purposeful lives which will impact, via our children, many whose names we will never know. This knowledge brings joy and a certain kind of happiness no matter the daily reality.
Net-net if you feel called to be a mom, you will love being a mom. It will also make your marriage much richer as it is part of God's purpose for you and your husband.
For Marina and myself, the very best thing in our lives is our children. And that's true for almost all of our friends.
That doesn't mean that there aren't lots of challenges, of course there are. But what is the true purpose of life? Is it to maximize our own material enjoyment? That's what our marketing and advertising driven culture wants us to believe. But that is hugely short sighted and ultimately self-defeating.
In our heart, we all know that life is about the intangibles.
Close loving relationships.
Strong noble character.
Looking into the eyes of your grandchildren.
I think you will love being a mom. And I think you will be a great mom. You will be a huge blessing to your children, and to their children. I really do believe that. After all, it is the most important job in the world.
From all of us Dads to all of you Moms, thanks so very much!