DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Difference

Written by: on May 20, 2015

 

Liz and I have a group of close friends in Wichita. We try to be vulnerable and share life with each other but as kids have come into the picture we have all acknowledged that the most difficult issues to discuss, or criticisms to receive, are in regards to our parenting and kids. It’s hard to talk with another mom about her mothering style and good luck questioning a dad about how hard he is pushing his children. Parenting is tough, comparison and competition are real between parents, and that’s why I so appreciated Amy Chua’s honest and open reflections on parenting in her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

While reading Chua’s reflections it is pretty easy to see that parenting differences don’t necessarily mean one side is right and the other side is wrong. It made me think of the recent Similac Mother ‘Hood video that went viral. The tag line in the video says, “There’s something going down on the playground. Don’t they know that everyone has their own way of parenting? But when it comes down to it, we’re all on the same side.[1]” That video really resonated because I think people can see that differences don’t necessarily mean right or wrong. Most parents will do anything to love their children and give them what’s best and sometimes there’s more then one way to get the same result. Chua also comes to this conclusion herself. Chua said she looked around at the Western families that have fallen apart, and couldn’t believe the Western-style of parenting does a better job creating happiness. She does, however, know many Asian kids who acknowledge that their parents were strict and demanding, but speak of them with loyalty and gratitude. Ultimately, Chua concludes that Western children are no happier than Chinese children[2].

There’s no doubt that our churches could learn from this same truth. “There’s something going down on the playground. Don’t they know that everyone has their own way of (doing church)? But when it comes down to it, we’re all on the same side.” While it’s difficult to talk with a mom about how she is mothering it’s also difficult to talk with a pastor about how he/she is pastoring. This truth seems easier to see when viewing things cross-culturally but unfortunately this truth gets muddled in my thinking when I look at church differences in my own community. The Western and Chinese cultures are so vastly different that we more easily accept that we have much to learn. Yet, the differences in my own neighborhood churches seem harder to accept and easier to criticize.

While Amy Chua’s book highlighted and compared vastly different approaches to parenting her book really served as a reminder to me that whether there are vastly different approaches or just minor difference in approaches, our differences don’t necessarily mean right or wrong and sometimes there’s more then one way to get the same result.


 

[1] “The Mother ‘Hood Official Video,” (video), accessed May 20, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me9yrREXOj4.

[2] “Book Summary: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,”, accessed May 20, 2015,https://powerofmoms.com/books-battle-hymn-of-the-tiger-mother/.

 

About the Author

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Nick Martineau

Nick is a pastor at Hope Community Church in Andover, KS, founder of ILoveOrphans.com, and part of the LGP5 cohort.

7 responses to “Difference”

  1. Jon Spellman says:

    Nick, this week’s reading is connecting back to last week’s in my mind from the standpoint of acknowledging differences without the compulsion to assign a grade. “Better” “best” “worst” etc are all culturally constructed aren’t they?
    J

    • mm Nick Martineau says:

      I agree Jon but this week’s reading really showed me how I can more easily accept vastly different approaches but those around me that have more minor differences I tend to classify them like you suggested, “better” “best” “worst.” You are right, that’s a culturally constructed idea…not a Kingdom idea. Thanks Jon.

  2. mm Dave Young says:

    Nick, Yep. “our differences don’t necessarily mean right or wrong and sometimes there’s more then one way to get the same result.”

    Once again it seems like we got a similar take-away. There are many ways to parent, or do church – they can seem radically different. How then could they both be of the same value, or likewise accomplish the same purpose? I think the answer is in the magnitude of God. We can reflect significant differences in our ecclesiology and parenting and both can be reflective of God. Thanks for the enjoyable read.

  3. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Nick, Loved the video link. Just watched that with my family. They are cracking up. I do think the most dangerous parent is the one who thinks they have the corner on getting it right. I appreciated how Chua laughed at herself and was so transparent and vulnerable with her own extremes. I think the most important parenting mindset is to do your honest best, be committed to your way, and be ready to laugh at how unpredictable parenting truly is. Great post!

  4. mm Travis Biglow says:

    Howdy Nick,

    I said the same thing in my blog. I cant really get into how other people raise their children. I have had some real challenges with my daughter. So i cant get into what other cultures do i have enough trouble and concerns with mines. So you are really telling it like it is. And you know you are right no pastor wants anyone to tell them how they should pastor. I loved that. Its not that we dont want constructive criticism. It just that we are doing the leading and we are responsible so we want to do the thing that is most comfortable to us. Blessing my brother

  5. mm Brian Yost says:

    Nick, I like the way you connected parenting styles with pastoring styles; very keen observation. As parents and as pastors, we find it much easier to criticize other’s styles than to receive the criticism of others.

  6. mm Mary Pandiani says:

    Jon – I’m grateful for the video, especially as it puts things in a bit of perspective with some humor. While it’s been a difficult weekend in losing our yet-to-be-born grandchild, I’m reminded that we are in this all together.
    Thank you.

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