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How Poverty Helps Me to Be a Better Parent

alec vanderboom

"Evangelical poverty recognizes personal limitations and surrenders them to God with confidence in His goodness and fidelity."(OCDS Constitution, Section III)

The intersection between the virtue of Christian Poverty and Parenthood is an interesting subject. There are a wealth of studies on how "poverty" negatively affects parenting. We talk about how kids in poverty are "at risk" for all kinds of problems.

I'm starting to see, however, that Christian poverty, by which I mean a parent's "voluntary poverty for the Service of God," is a huge benefit to the child. My "choice" to be a Stay-at-home mom, for example. I choose to be obedient to God's plan for my life and as a result of that obedience, my family experiences the pinch of poverty.

We don't have money for my kid's to take Suzuki violin lessons or attend private school. At the same time, however, poverty is a virtue that brings great benefits. It's probably better for my 2 year old not to be forced into violin lessons to fulfill her Mother's dream of recreating Laura Ingell's musical domestic life.

Also, I can't imagine homeschooling or having a fourth child, if I still worked 60 hours a week. It's a paradox. By becoming poor and humble, my husband can support a family that is huge by modern American standards.

I like thinking about poverty on a spiritual level, as well as material level. On my own, I'm helpless as a mother. I yell at my kids. I terrible at teaching routine memory work, such as phonics. I forget routine dental appointments. I'm constantly leaving the house without pacifiers and extra diapers.

Yet when I'm poor, I'm also rich. By recognizing my personal limitations, I invite Jesus to do the heavy lifting in my life. As a result of being a faithful Catholic, Jesus runs my 'huge' family far better than I ever could alone.

Anyone have any similar thoughts in their own life as a Mother?