Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All I Need To Know About Raising My Children I Learned From My Knitting

 by Jamie Clegg  2010
  As of late I've been overwhelmed with the awesomeness of the task and responsibility of raising my children.  For certain there are so many things that I need to do differently, experiment with what works best, or totally drop. As an only child there are no references from my childhood dealing with sibling issues, and particular character issues (as I was always on the receiving end and not the teaching). So my only references must come from resources around me, particularly books on Christian parenting. And in that area I feel as I am one who learns but never comes to knowledge. I feel like I am standing at a great chasm with a book that tells me that I can fill it up, if I use the right tools. But the book doesn't list what tools those are.  
  But today as I was putting my girls down for a nap with my busywork knitting in front of me, it was like God sent me a note on my needles.  
  Busywork knitting is something to occupy my time, while I can still be productive without putting much thought into it.  Its great for letting the wheels in my head spin around the issues I'm dealing with. For the last while its been a pattern for leprosy bandages. Essentially home made ace bandages with thin crochet cotton on tiny needles. Only twenty six stitches wide and knit every row. At aprox. 18 rows per inch, Ive managed almost 2 1/2 feet.  
  While knitting away and thinking about the task of child raising "How do I teach them what they need to know? How can I be that example?" , the verse "line upon line precept upon precept" popped up on my needles.  
  At first thought that verse is a pretty common "well duh" kind of verse that I've seen in Child rearing books often. But when put in context of my knitting it pretty much punched me in the face. ( I told God to be clear about the answer now didn't I?)  
  I am the knitter- Gods chief means of building the character of this child. The needles are the tools God uses to shape us, the thread is His precepts and guidelines. Each stitch is each day. God is the pattern I'm following.  
  At first when the piece is begun it seems tedious, as there is not much to show, and so far to go before there is even a recognizable resemblance to the pattern. The stitches are small and each one dependent on the one behind and underneath it. And yet if there is any hope for reaching the conclusion there must be a start made. After that consistency is key. If I lay my work aside and forget about it nothing happens, it never grows into the pattern as planned. If I leave it on the needles too long, after continuing again, there will be evidence that the work had been stagnant and create a blemish on the fabric. If I am haphazard about what circumstances I leave my knitting sitting around, the influences around it may very well unravel my work (ever have children pull the needles out?), This can cause serious damage indeed, and happen frequently if you are not vigilant. If I am not careful to give an account of my work on a regular basis, attention to details slip and I am now knitting with one less stitch than I had been previously. Closer inspection reveals a dropped stitch, that depending on the strength of the surrounding circumstances, can cause a run, ripping through the foundations I have so carefully put on before.  
  What to do? Do I stop and give up? Do I get mad and throw the whole stupid business in the frog pond? Do I carefully frog back and begin with a new set of rows? Or do I employ and plead the tool of the crochet hook (God's Holy Spirit) to fix each marred stitch? Ask a lace knitter with a run in a circle shawl 5 rows back which is easier!  
  And when I am finally done with the piece and I have built upon the foundations, and I am satisfied that it matches what the pattern intended, what then do I see? This bandage seems fit for the purpose which the pattern intended, but I notice that over the long time I've been knitting and building that the thread, which, when once on the ball was a beautiful and resilient  white, is now less than glorious. Many outside influences have left their mark on this piece that must be addressed before it can be used to heal the wounds which the world makes. It must be washed and bleached and tried in order to be of any use. This process can make a knitter quite nervous. Will there be shrinkage? Will it unravel. Will the process reveal any hidden flaws from inattention? Will it be deemed worthy of using? One would see the importance of the duty and responsibility a parent takes on. May God help us as parents!  
  So much of this lesson sprang into my mind at a moments notice. So now I know. God has been faithful to show me. May I be faithful to follow The Pattern, and keep moving along, one stitch, one row, one inch at a time, till in the end God's likeness is embedded in my child. 


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