Parenting when everyone is so different!

This is a post from A Homeschooler’s Tale (

In Richard Dahlstrom’s The Colors of Hope he paints a vivid scene:

Teaching when everyone is so different

“I’m writing this as I stare out the window of a log cabin hidden in the foothills of Washington State’s Cascades, near skiing, climbing, and the ocean, all at the same time. The beauty of the place can be summarized by the word green, though the word doesn’t do it justice, because there are so many shades. There’s the green that is the moss growing on the stump of a fir that was downed years ago to make this log cabin. There’s the green shoots from tulips just breaking through the earth, along with the skunk cabbage, blue spruce, and mysterious ground cover that carpets the forest floor. Each green has variations, shades created by light and dark, sun and shadow. Counting the greens is like counting stars.”(p71)

Our children are like so many shades of green. Each one is so different. Each reacts, responds, requires, respects, relates differently. As a mom it can be exhausting trying to figure out how to teach, discipline, and encourage so many different greens.

“Ah, but all those greens, in their various shades, are just blends of blue and yellow. There are infinite shades of green, but each is nothing more than a blend.”(p71)

Primary colors

Realizing that just as there are three primary colors: red, yellow and blue, Dahlstrom points to Scripture to break down the complexity of God’s law into three primary phrases.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

In parenting we know that we shouldn’t be just teaching proper behavior, but building godly character. Still we often find ourselves always scrambling for the right rule to fix poor behavior. With everyone so different, the “rules” don’t always apply or effect the change we are hoping for. God’s Word not only directs us to the Source of answers, and strength for parenting, but also comforts and encourages too. God tells us what is good and what He not only requires of us, but also of our children.  In Micah 6:8 are the three primary colors I found myself teaching over and over again:

Do Justice: “The reason you need to learn how to read is so you can read the Bible for yourself. Otherwise you will always be dependent on what others tell you about who God is, what He is saying to you, and how you can please Him. So let’s stop complaining about doing this and work on learning to read.” In order for our children to do justice, they must know what God’s justice is.

Love Kindness: “The reason you don’t hit/hurt your brother is because God made him.” Once our children start to see others in terms of being God’s creation, they develop a greater respect in the way they treat them.

Walk Humbly with your God: “It is important that you learn how to obey your father and me because it is training in being able to obey God.” Learning to obey parents isn’t just a “because God says so” commandment. It is vital in developing the ability to be able to submit and obey God as a teenager and an adult.


Praise God! I don’t have to figure out the right answer for all the different personalities of our children. Instead of struggling with all the differences, I can enjoy them as I look to God’s Word and His primary teachings that apply to us all.