I've been reading parenting books quit a bit lately. Reading more than I need to about a subject is how I approach life. So, several articles, books, blog posts, etc later I think I have a parenting philosophy that I can get behind for a week or two. Yeah, yeah, my own kid will teach me more than reading will. I get that, and I even follow that in lots of ways. I just like research and investigating. I also know about most of the school choices out there and we don't need to make that choice for years. This is entertainment for me.
Anyway, before I get too sidetracked by justifying my strange hobby, I should get to the point of this post. One camp in the child rearing world says that you should love your child and provide good examples to live by and then let them be. Don't punish. Don't coerce. Don't manipulate with rewards, praise or punishment. When they see you acting a certain way they will learn that is how it is done. It will take time. Your 8 year old won't have the manners an adult has, but they will be acting genuine and not just repeating words. (someone call me out if I ever say "say the magic word" without irony)
As I was reading the book I couldn't help but think this is how our relationship with God is. Life punishes us for not acting a certain way, but God just loves us. We are called to respond to that love by loving others but God's love comes first. It is a Because, therefore relationship not an If, then relationship. Because God loves us, therefore we live out our lives by loving others. Not if we do the right thing, believe the right thing, say the right thing, then God will love us or save us.
You might be able to tell I'm not into decision theology.
So whatever parenting ideas I'm reading, I will always be loving my daughter first. That much I don't need to read a book about.
Hope you always feel loved, Sweatpea.