Mother Muses Monday - starts today!

So today I begin my musings about motherhood. I have brainstormed lots of topics that hopefully are interesting to you - from abstract parental vision to concrete issue involving schooling and behavior, to making time for art while raising kids.

To kick off my Mother Muses column I wanted to share a little about my parenting philosophy. It is not very concrete but that way you can see where I am coming from.

3 of my 5 kids

You know, I can't really talk of my parenting without including my husband, Mark. He and I are a team...... Well we see our kids as individuals. Due respect and assistance. We see that they need to learn to navigate this world ‘cause one day they will be fully functioning members of society.  And that it is our job to get them there, as parents, teachers, guides and later friends.

We believe it is our job to discern what it is they need to learn about and are exposed to as they grow. We see it as our special privilege to do this, something that takes time and effort, but that is worth every morsel. Our parenting comes before everything else we do with our time ~ art and jobs included. So we constantly seek out ways to help develop their character and educate their minds.

But also we see that they are not ours to boss around and make them into people they were not designed to be. Neither do we see them as appendages meant to make us look good. So we tread carefully as we parent. God has a plan for each of our kids and we will do everything in our power to not mess that up, but to help bring that plan to fruition!

In our search for the right parenting path we look for wisdom in the Bible, through talking with friends and through our constant analysis of our kid’s personalities and actions, gifts and interests. Really, Mark and I go on weekly dates and spend a whole lot of time talking about the kids!

We really do enjoy our kids. They are all so different, so interesting to us, so beautiful, so awesome. We feel deeply lucky, blessed and all other good things to have each of our five children. We know them, we have fun with them. We strive to show them the best things in the world - art, culture, academics, books, media, friends, church, travel, family, Biblical truth.  We strive to make them feel loved, secure, free and utterly accepted.

Bottom line is that we try to actively love our kids, each independently, but also as part of the Cole family. Everything we do is steeped in love, love, love. Love covering our scheduling decisions, our tone of voice, our soothing when we get tired or mad. Love covering our plans, our fun activities, our discipline of poor behaviors and habits. Love in our prayers for them.

Yes, prayers. I pray for my kids daily. I thank God for their lives, I pray for their health and safety (body, mind and spirit) and that they will be sheltered from my bad qualities and that I will be a good Mommy.

So that is the outline, the heavy stuff. Next week I hope to be a little more light hearted. But then again, I am not a particularly light hearted person, especially when it comes to my kids! So we’ll see!

If you have any questions or comments on what I say here, please leave them. I may not be able to respond to every comment, but I read them and if you ask a question I will get back to you. I also would love to hear from you. I would love to know your parenting philosophy. Perhaps consider sharing it on your blog too? Let me know.

(Oh, I am so excited I have a 5 minute video lined up for you on Workshop Wednesday!)


  1. Thanks for this lovely post. I especially connected with the idea of steeping in love every parenting decision we make. Figuring out what love looks like at those junctures and for our kids' different personalities in the challenge.

    My husband and I are constantly reminded that full-time parenting is but a season of our lives, and we want to give it the bulk of our energy and passion-- our kids are truly on loan to us for God, from Whom they came, and the futures and callings He has for them.

    Thanks for this post-- a good "compass check" for a Monday.

  2. What a lovely photo! Love that they are being themselves in it! Your kids are beautiful and so is your parenting style.

  3. You do express your heart felt thoughts with eloquence.
    I love the word 'navigate'. My 13 year old is having a rough go of it
    (such a hard age for girls)
    We have had more than one heart to heart. She wants to grow up too fast. We did talk about how the pushing away from us and making her own choices (and taking the responsibility for this) is what will launch her into the person she will eventually be. As well as the fact that its ok and good to change.

  4. This is the same philosophy that Marty and I hold to with the parenting of our children. This was so well put, Shona. I definitely would love more posts like these on Mondays, anything to do with your parenting and homeschooling.

  5. beautiful. its something to really think about!

  6. Beautifully put! I especially loved the part about every parenting decision being steeped in love.

  7. Anonymous10:21 AM

    LOVE It!

    and i did compose a thought...
    a small one, on this idea of

  8. Thank you all. I was a tad nervous at posting such a bold statement! Your kind comments sooth me. You know, that happens to me so often here. Thank you for taking the time to comment and make me feel supported :)

    Missy, yes parenting is a season. and going so fast. slow down I say! I have been writing lots of poems on this topic lately. The Lord only gives us so much time we need to be really 'present' to really enjoy it.
    Fairyrocks (Pam), I can only imagine. teen years are coming so quickly for me, I can already see my oldest 2 growing wings. But, I am determined not to be afraid. Lots of heart to hearts ahead of me too!!!
    Eden, off to check you out!

  9. I'm really interested in learning about your homeschooling experience. Unfortunately, as a single parent, I have to work, but I'd love to be able to take some elements of it into the upbringing of my son - some creative ideas for teaching him about the wonders of the world and how to be a good citizen. I'm really looking forward to reading this series of posts Shona.

  10. What a wonderful post! I'm so glad you've decided to devote a day a week to motherhood. I'm really looking forward to these posts!

    I think one of the things I liked best in your philosophy was this:

    "But also we see that they are not ours to boss around and make them into people they were not designed to be."

    I wholeheartedly agree with trying to nurture and support their journey to be the person they were sent here to be, not mold them into our image or dream of what they SHOULD be.

    I posted my parenting thoughts here:

    Thanks for the post inspiration!

  11. thank you for the reminder that we need to do everything in love and in prayers. i also need a heavy dose of patient (and probably sleep) in my words and actions. looking forward to these monday posts!

  12. Shona, thank you so much for your very inspiring words today! Reading your words about parenting reminds me of how truly important that job is... and how blessed we are to have the job, and that God is ultimately in charge - phew!
    I was very excited to receive your book last week and can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it, feeling both inspired and challenged.
    It is interesting that I am currently leading a ladies Bible study about insecurity, and reading through your book I am being challenged in one area that I feel much insecurity! So thank you for your book that is inspirational..and seems actually doable! And thank you for your blog today I was blessed!

  13. Anonymous7:04 AM

    thank you. for your sweet sentiment.
    having a one and only is a very special experience. love your new blog schedule. going to try and tune in daily. it is a very fun place here for mommies and artist alike. so happy i discovered you.

  14. Anonymous7:06 AM

    ps...this photo of three little soo precious...i hope it is somewhere, on a wall in your home.

  15. Thanks, Shona, for reminding me to think about who they are naturally, and who God wants them to be in the future! I need to be reminded to have the big picture when dealing with my kids.

  16. I love this. Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

    I don't yet have kids, but I still think this was something I needed to hear. :)

  17. I love this post! I know parenting my daughter has put a whole new spin on the notion of "mindfulness" for me.

    One of the reasons I started my blog was to consider how my training and practice of Yoga - especially the foundational principles - supports me in raising my child. I've drifted away from that examination and you've inspired me to return to it. I try to respect that my daughter has her path to walk and my role is to support her and help her develop the tools she may need. Ultimately, she is the one who must make her journey and while there are times when I would like to spare her the pain of a hard lesson learned, to do so would rob her of the gifts of finding her power, uncovering her gifts and knowing her strengths.

    I am looking forward to reading more! As always, I find so much of what you do here supports the way I choose to live my life as a mother and an artist. Thank you Shona!

    xo Lis

  18. What a beautiful reminder of why on Earth we have children to begin with - I loved reading this and appreciate your honesty - you are an inspiration in so many ways! xoxo


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