The Struggles of Young Motherhood
Castleberry, Graceanna. "Equipping the Generations: The Needle and the Joy." The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry, vol. 4, no. 1, 2013, pp. 60-61.
In the church today, mothers are pulled in all directions. Mothers and homemakers want to pursue a biblical upbringing for their children, but the lies and distractions of the world can distort what biblical truly means. Graceanna Castleberry brings up this issue in her article Equipping the Generations: The Needle and the Joy.
Castleberry opens by sharing an encounter with her anesthesiologist during her delivery of her second daughter. She stated she felt pressured by his comments about how her lifestyle appeared unlivable in through his eyes. This doctor mentioned how she was young (she was twenty-six at the time) and she should be running around and having fun with whomever she wanted since that was the lifestyle he was currently living and enjoying. After this doctor left, she realized that this man only ever saw women when they were in pain but never saw the beauty that was gifted from their struggle. Castleberry then used this metaphor on how mothers sometimes focus on the needles in their lives instead of the joy. Through the next two pages, Castleberry shows the reader reasons on why Christian women and mothers should be embracing our joys. She shares her memories of holding her daughters after she delivered, and the struggles she had to endure waiting for their late arrivals. But the joy of motherhood is not just in the delivery but also in the life she lives with them every day. She ends the article by sharing a tale of a mother we can all relate to; Jesus' mother Mary. God destined for Mary to be Jesus' mother even though she was young and had no experience. It was her love for the Lord and her desire to live a life worshiping and obeying him that allowed her to be the perfect choice to raise Jesus on earth. Her life was not easy and our lives as mothers are never going to be easy, but it is a life that God has designed and equipped women to be.
Castleberry article completed everything she set out to achieve. She wrote an article for mothers from the perspective of a mother, which is very important. Castleberry understood what mothers struggle with because she faces those same struggles every day. Social media has allowed mothers to connect better and easier than they have ever been before, yet in reality, most mothers feel isolated and feel alone. Before, mothers would have to communicate with each other if they had a question about how their child was progressing or how one mother achieved a milestone. Now women can scroll through their Facebook or Instagram feed and instantly feel inadequate because they did not measure up to the perceived perfection that some families project. This more often than not has had a negative effect on young mothers in the modern world. However, mothers who are believers are called to embrace the amazing role of motherhood and to have courage despite the challenges they might face and most importantly they should have faith in God and in their ability as mothers (Frost, n.d.).
The Challenge of Adequately Raising Kids
Altrogge, Stephen. "Equipping the Generations: I Don't Know Chemistry and I'm not Homeless." The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry, vol. 4, no. 1, 2013, pp. 58-59.
Parents in today's world often feel weighed down by the expectations that society has placed on what it means to successfully raise children so that they end up as productive and responsible adults (Fields, 2010). More often than not society places an emphasis on material provisions and education and ignores the issues that matter most such as raising children in a loving way and guiding them in learning about God. Stephen Altrogge challenges this perception in his article Equipping the Generations: I Don't Know Chemistry and I'm not Homeless.
Altrogge begins by sharing some of the expectations that parents in the church often feel that they are obligated to provide for their children so as to give them a good start in life. These obligations are usually positive and involve providing children with the right amount of discipline, the opportunity to develop friendships with the right peers, to discover their talents and to get a wholesome education that will give them an added advantage in life. Usually, these motives are driven by the fear that any misstep in the foundational ages of their children might result in them being unemployed in future, being irresponsible or acquiring certain negative behavior. Today's parents may find themselves burning the candle at both ends working to be able to provide the perfect education or childhood for their kids. However, the author feels that modern parents in the church today may be missing out on the most important thing in raising their children which is developing a great relationship between themselves, their kids, and God.
The author is concerned that if Christian parents focus on just providing the materials and setting a right environment for their children they might end up stressed because it is such a difficult thing trying to provide the perfect childhood for one's child. He questions why parents struggle to achieve these artificial standards that are not even mentioned biblically (Braaten, 2017). Moreover, he challenges this modern perception by relating the topic to his own upbringing. Stephen describes his childhood and explains how he managed to perform well in school and yet in retrospect the things that mattered most did not include schooling. He mentions that the love he was shown by his parents and the time they spent together was what really mattered (Jambrek, 2009). Furthermore, he explains how his parents set an example and guided him even as a child in learning and developing a relationship with God. For example, in one particular incident, his father instead of focusing on giving him career advice encourages him to prioritize pursuing a relationship with God.
Altrogge attributes the person he is today to the example his parents set and the experiences they shared as a family. He learned about the values of honor, love, and respect from his parents. For example, he describes how his father took care of them and respected their mother especially when she experienced her own personal struggles. Stephen Altrogge is able to show how non-academic and non-material provision and experiences influenced him to become a responsible and productive member of society. He also emphasizes on raising children in a biblical manner as opposed to just concentrating on the material things.
Stephen Altrogge successfully addresses the issue of parenting in Christian families. He clearly brings out his agenda of raising children in a biblical manner instead of raising them on material resources. He emphasizes that a good education is not enough in successfully raising children. Furthermore, he brings out the importance of raising children in a loving environment and the role that parents play in showing children what it means to be responsible. The author remains objective throughout the article and still manages to deliver his message in a clear and relatable way. He finally leads us to a conclusion by affirming that parents should focus on raising their children biblically and help them to develop the relational ability to care for their family and others.
Authors from the Equipping the Generations series of articles have both been able to clearly bring out their messages on parenthood in the modern church. Graceanna and Stephen have made use of language that is simple to understand and interpret the message in the articles. It can also be observed that they both made use of personal stories to bring home their point when addressing the given topic. This allows the reader to understand the messages being put forward. Moreover, it simplifies the story and makes it more relatable.
The first article by Graceanna Castleberry addresses the issue of experiencing joy in motherhood in a concise way. The author is consistent in putting forward the main message through a narration of her story and relating it to motherhood as observed in the Bible. This element of using biblical evidence enhances the main message of the article which is appreciating motherhood. Readers are able to comprehend this message more easily through the illustration given of Mary, mother of Jesus.
The second article by Stephen Altrogge focuses on Christian parenthood. The author uses simple and relatable language to portray the dilemma that modern parents face when trying to provide the perfect childhood or a successful upbringing of their children. He also uses narration of a personal story in his article to bring out the aspects of parenthood that matters most. For example, he mentions his parents as being loving, respectful and honoring this enables the reader to see how parents can act as models for their children to look up to (Brown, 2015). Stephen also brings out the importance of having an open relationship with one'Os children and how empowering it can be (Jambrek, 2009). His article is clear and can be easily understood by the reader. Moreover, Stephen maintains the relevance of the article in each paragraph with the ideas building up to the main message, that is, parents should concentrate on raising their children biblically.
One demerit of both articles is that they fail to give more scripture references or quotations in putting forward their assigned topics. Biblical references would have helped to reinforce the main issues addressed by the given authors. Stephen Altrogge in his article Equipping the Generations: I Don't Know Chemistry and I'm not Homeless fails to relate his message on parenthood to a relevant book in the Bible. This lack of quoting scripture from the Bible might prevent readers from learning the Biblical message that the authors were trying to bring out.
Stephen Altrogge and Graceanna Castleberry have both given clear accounts on their given topics in relation to parenting. Their writing is precise and relatable to most readers. Most readers will clearly benefit from reading them as they learn what it takes to raise their children biblically.
Altrogge, S. (2013). Equipping the Generations: I Don't Know Chemistry and I'm not Homeless. The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 58-59.
Braaten, J. (2017). A Guide to Raising Christian Children. Retrieved from https://blogs.lcms.org/2017/guide-raising-christian-children/Brown, G. (2015). Foundation Six: Raising Godly Children in Marriage. Retrieved from https://bible.org/seriespage/6-foundation-six-raising-godly-children-marriage
Castleberry, G. (2013). Equipping the Generations: The Needle and the Joy. The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 60-61.
Frost, C. F. (n.d.). Joy No One Will Take from You: A Theology of Motherhood in Orthodox Christianity. doi:10.18130/v38s94
Fields, L. L. (2010, January 8). The Myth of the Perfect parent. Retrieved from https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/january/12.22.htmlJambrek, L. (2009). Raising Children in an Evangelical Family Environment: Biblical Principles Applied to the Family. Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 135-152
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