A blog I read recently, "Fully Present" by Milk Musings, mentioned that spirituality can be all around you, no matter where you are, so long as you are fully present in the moment. This is something that I need to be reminded of frequently. To be IN the moment. Instead of answering my children's questions halfway with my eyes and mind somewhere else, every interaction with them should be complete and with my whole being.
And you know what? When I do interact completely, it IS very spiritual. It is amazing the differences between the reaction I give, not get, but give to my children when I am completely there. I hear the tinkling of the baby's laugh, but more than hearing it, I feel it. Deep in my soul in that place I try to find during private prayer and meditation.
I was prepared today to post a lengthy discussion almost criticizing the patriarchs for their parenting techniques. I was going to use Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a study of how not to parent. Favoritism was rampant in these families, and on more than one occasion behavior (or lack of behavior) nearly led to the death of one of the children. I was going to discuss how "parenting biblically" was really not the best way to parent and, while I am by no means an ultimate expert, it just seemed that following their examples in child-rearing would be counter-productive. It seemed that these biblical examples were more of a what-not-to-do scenario than a follow-to-the-letter scenario.
But, rather than go into how the patriarchs were poor fathers, perhaps it is better to look at it in a different way. Perhaps in the time it took Abraham to prepare the sacrifice grounds for his beloved son, he was fully present in the moment. He was blindly faithful and trusted in G-d. Perhaps that interaction with his grown son was one of the most spiritual experiences Abraham had. And maybe those moments taught Isaac how to be a spiritual person as well.
It makes sense to me that Abraham would have been able to be fully present in that moment, because he did love his son. He had to have been torn apart with the desire to please G-d and do as he was told because of his faith, and the love and devotion he had for his son. To have been fully present in that moment with Isaac, could only have been an extremely spiritual time for both men.
This doesn't mean that they weren't spiritual at other times. Of course the patriarchs were spiritual men. But, it seems to me that there had to have been defining moments where they found that personal peace, that place of intense spirituality.
Rather than look away from the biblical parents, perhaps we can learn a thing or two from them. Perhaps we are to look at their situations and rather than see the faults, see how they were able to fully engross themselves in every moment as parents. Perhaps it is our task to see that even when the situation appeared to be a negative one, the patriarchs made their parenting choices and were fully present, and completely engulfed in spirituality.
Perhaps that is what we are to emulate when we decide to "parent biblically."