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What Stephen King Taught Me About Parenting

Stephen King has a son.  Does anyone else find this scary, knowing that he wrote The Shining?  His son’s name is Joe Hill.  Actually, his name is Joseph Hillstrom King, but he shortened it.  Why?  He, like his father, is a writer, and he wanted to become famous by his own merit.   He has.

Joe’s writing ability may be inherited, but his loved of words was learned.  In the June/July 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, Joe talks about his upbringing.  In this particular interview, Joe says that it was natural to come home every day after school to find both of his parents typing away on their novels–his mother is a successful novelist as well (Petit).  Joe explains, “It just kind of seemed like the most natural thing in the world to go up to my room and play make-believe for an hour on the assumption that eventually you’d get paid for it.” In addition, the Kings’ dinner table discussion was always about books.  Evenings were spent passing a book around and taking turns reading aloud rather than watching television (Petit).

No wonder Joe is a writer, a very successful one.

I think it’s safe to say that Stephen King is one of the last people whose parenting style I would seek to emulate.  I do not want to pick his brain.  In fact, his brain scares me more than a little bit, but there’s something to be said for the way he mentored his children, modeling behavior so consistently over time that it seemed the only natural way to live, always backing up words with action.

It got me thinking.  What am I really teaching my children?  When they grow up, what will they describe as being “the most natural thing in the world” as a result of their time at home?  Facing uncertainty with faith?  Responding to hurt with forgiveness?  Meeting need with generosity?  Accepting discipline with humility?  Filtering input with discernment? Answering falsehood with truth?  Overcoming hatred with prayer?  Healing wounds with love?

I hope so, but I wonder.

Like everyone else, I’m better at some of those things than others.  Discernment?  Check.   Truth?  Check.  Love?  Check.  Humility?  Hmmm…  Have you read this paragraph so far?  Maybe not humility.  Now that I think about it, I still haven’t written that check to support our missionary friends.  Scratch generosity.  And didn’t I remind my daughter just yesterday about something so-and-so did way back when?  Ugh.

Scary!

My kids will be adults very, very soon, and I have some serious work to do.  How about you?

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