As part of Carrie’s Reading to Know Bookclub and her L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge, both in January - I killed two birds with one book so to speak : ) – I pulled the book Rila of Ingleside off my shelf. It has been years since I’ve read Rilla. In times past, I would have said that this was not one of my favorite of the Anne books for two reasons. One, there’s not much Anne in it and two, I always felt this was a tag along book. Did she write it because the Anne series was such a big hit and she knew she could sell another book in the series? A little bit cynical on that second reason, but I did wonder. : )
That said, this run through of the book was a delight. The story is set right before Rilla’s 15th birthday and the eve of World War I. She so wants to be considered grown-up but still carries quite of bit of childishness about her. Through the story we see her maturation as she grows up during a time when her brothers and sisters (and many friends) are serving their country, not knowing if she will see them again or how she can help in her small way.
How did this impact me? I was recently at a birthday celebration for a young friend who had turned thirteen. Many folks there were sharing bits of wisdom and encouragement to her and one thing that a friend said really resonated with me and ties with my appreciation of this book. She said that, Biblically, you are a child and then you are an adult. That, in a nutshell, should be the focus of my parenting. To take a child, given to me by God, and raise them, love them, nurture them, educate them, so that they will be a mature adult. There is nothing about raising a less-moody tween or a polite teen in the Bible – the goal is raise a successful adult. It has given me much pause to think on this. I am leaning toward the idea that I am doing my girls (especially right now) a disservice if I think of raising them in terms of their teenage years as my focus for survival. I’m raising future adults and so train them towards that end. This was modeled so well in Rilla of Ingleside. At the beginning of the book, she was very concerned about “childish” things. Not necessarily bad things, but not showing signs of maturity. Through the experiences she has, with the backdrop of World War I, she becomes a loving, responsible, mature adult … a testimony to her parents’ (fictional) training to show her growth and maturity when it was time.
I hope this makes sense as I type it out. (It seems to make sense in my head, at any rate). : ) As I look at my girls, one especially who is getting altogether to close to her teen years for me to think about, I want to be mindful of the fact that right now she is a child and embrace that – her interests, her pursuits, and her childish spirit and heart. Yet, at the same time, encouraging growth and maturity in her spiritual walk, her emotional control and moodiness, and the fruit of the spirit that I want to see grow in her life. Yes, Rilla of Ingleside is a fictional book, but it really did tie in with thoughts I’ve been pondering on and was a wonderful start to my 2013 reading (and parenting). : )
Linking up with both the Reading to Know bookclub & L.M. Montgomery wrap-ups in a few days. Thanks, Carrie, as always, for hosting!