Adventures in Parenting – Lonnie & Mary Forth

Adventures in Parenting takes us into the life of an individual or couple who are currently (or have been) parents in order to get an idea of how they navigate their way through the process of raising up their children. So, here’s how this works. This week’s guests are Lonnie & Mary Forth. I have provided them with a list of 25 or so questions of which they were instructed to choose five. This will serve as an interview of sorts with the conversation being, for the most part, of their choosing.

Let’s take a moment and get to know Lonnie & Mary.

Lonnie and I met in our “golden years,” while we were both starting over in life. We both divorced after many years of marriage, and our kids were grown. We met at work and became friends, but neither of us was particularly interested in marrying again. God had a better idea. After just a few times of “going out for coffee,” it was clear to both of us that we were a very good match. Our beliefs, family dynamics, work ethics, opinions on the importance of family, things that we value, and senses of humor just lined up in a way I never expected.

We came from very similar backgrounds, both raised in Christian homes, and in a simpler time that we both appreciate and love to talk about. Although we don’t agree on everything, we never fight. We have learned to respect each other enough to be able to talk things out, and most of the time can reach an agreement. If not, we just agree to disagree. So, after both raising families, we do think we have learned a few things.

Here are some thoughts:

Question #1. Have you ever caught yourself repeating something your parents said to you?

All the time!!! How many times have I opened my mouth, and my mom’s words came out? Although I thought my parents were so old-fashioned and stuffy, they were actually very wise. I was raised in a Christian home, with parents that loved me deeply, and provided me with a wonderful home. They were not pushovers, though. “Stop that crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about!” is one that comes to mind.

Question #2. How do you deal with picky eaters?

If I prepare a new food, I expect them to try it. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, but at least take a bite. However, I don’t agree with fixing a bunch of different things because someone doesn’t like what I fixed. They can just go find something else to eat. We always have cereal.

Question #3. How good of a parent do you think your partner is?

I didn’t know my husband when he was raising his children, but I think he did the best he could, and given the man he is, I think he was an excellent parent and provider. He has always been a hard worker, always puts family ahead of himself, and is very kind and compassionate. I HAVE seen him with our grandchildren. He is a wonderful grandfather and the kids adore him. There are all sorts of special things he does for them, like the chocolate chip cookies that he gets when they are coming. He will sit in the floor and play Barbies anytime, and the TV is always on the Cartoon channel when they are here (although he loves to watch the news multiple times per day). If anyone has a crying baby, just give them to Papa. He is a Baby Whisperer.

Question #4. To spank or not to spank?

I believe in spankings. I do not believe in beating children. I believe that kids need to have rules, and they need to understand what those rules are. Rules are what keep us all from being total heathens. When they intentionally break a rule, there should be consequences. I also believe that it is the parent’s responsibility to be consistent with that discipline. I didn’t spank my children very much. I started when they were very small, making them mind. They learned quickly that I meant what I said.

Sometimes, I did have to spank when I didn’t even want to. I learned quickly that you can’t make idle threats with kids, or they will figure that out. If you tell them to do something or they’ll get it, and they don’t mind you, then they better get a swat. I also believe that the most important part of discipline is to do it in love. My kids always knew how much I loved them, even while I was paddling their behinds. When the discipline was done, it was over. Then it was time for hugs.

5. Is public shaming good parenting?

Public shaming is abuse. It makes no difference if you are a child or an adult. Public shaming is just shameful. It only cuts a person down. I cannot imagine that anyone would consider that constructive. Shaming a child could damage them in ways that they can never recover from. In the words of my mom, “Lift each other up in love. Help each other. Love each other.” She looked to the Bible for direction in everything, and she was right.

And, that does it. I hope you all have enjoyed the interview and possibly gained some insight or ideas in regards to your own children. As always, feel free to keep the conversation going in the comment section below. Check back in next Friday for our next installment of Adventures in Parenting.

Life is Strange. Live it Well.

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