In Finland every other mother seems to suffer from mom-guilt.
They feel they don't do enough for their children.
That they are not there enough, don't give them right kind of attention, and don’t spend the precious time being educational/fun/loving/understanding/strict/caring/exemplary/inspiring/creative enough.
Either they feel that they are spoiling the child or not giving them enough love.
The food they give to their children isn't nutritive/green/chemical and colorant free/wholesome/homemade/tasty/natural enough.
There is a huge worry about the safety and it is taken care till extreme.
Everything is made baby proof, child proof and life proof.
All the risks are being avoided to the most possible degree.
The children who grow up are called individualists, egocentric and selfish too often.
People claim that the youth concentrate on their own pleasure, there is a sense of entitlement.
Young people feel that they are entitled to have everything and shouldn't be made to work for it.
There is an ever growing drug problem and alcoholism, people living from the government, without work or real aspirations.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
The Revised Standard Version
The marriages don't last and divorce is more and more common.
And the mothers know this.
And we feel it so hard, we carry the guilt, try to educate our children to be successful and happy, to make it, in the life.
In Amazonian Kichwa culture, here in Ecuador, children need to learn to take care of themselves and their siblings, as soon as possible.
Sometimes that means from two, three or four years on, or even earlier.
Babies are left alone for long stretches of time, little children are left home with chicha (at radio all beverage that ferments in just one day here in the heat) and little else.
The sermon of your life in tough times ministers to people more powerfully than the most eloquent speaker.
If they wish to eat they need to start a fire, cut and peel with large kitchen knives and tend hot food all by themselves, while taking care of the younger siblings.
School aged children, from four years on, are left at home during the whole week while parents go to tend their farms, many times returning only for the weekend.
Deaths and disability from burnings, falling, choking, poisoning, drowning and other home accidents are sadly all too common.
Traditional child rearing techniques among Amazonian Kichwas include spanking with nettles and putting chili pepper in the eyes so the child will be able "to see the wisdom".
The girls grow up to be responsible from the early age on.
They take care of the house, the food and their younger siblings.
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
They cook and clean and make sure, the best they can, that everyone is well, alive and attending to the school.
And then at fourteen, sometimes earlier, they fall in love, and have their first child at sixteen, sometimes earlier.
The boys play games, climb to trees, swim in the rivers, play football and do their best in school, if they are so inclined.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
The New King James Version
In their teens they fall in love, usually get married with the girl when she gets pregnant, but sometimes they skip that part.
The young newlyweds either divorce really fast or keep having children while the wife takes care of the home, and the husband, not so much.
Not all Kichwa men are irresponsible but having casual relationships with other women is quite common, and not really that bad, as long as the wife does not find out.
May you grow to be as beautiful as God meant you to be when He thought of you first.
Alcoholism and domestic violence are sadly too common also.
The women see their husbands as priority.
First to eat is the man, first to get new clothes, first to have fun and enjoy.
He is the one who decides the life for everyone else.
Children are dear but lost so easily that it's better to have many.
And they need to show their usefulness, not just expect to be fed, clothed and given an education.
To follow Jesus doesn't remove us from the stuff of life. It is not resolution. It is tension and journey.
I do not miss Finland or the children swearing to their teachers and talking back to their parents, ruling the family lives with their whims.
I do not want to embrace Ecuador completely either.
There are wonderful things in both and things that are so sad that they break my heart.
I know that I am just a human, just like any other mother, and I can only do my best, just like you.
I know that I have mistaken many times and I don't even always do the best I could.
I know my errors and carry the guilt in my heart.
But I also know that every day is new, and there is another opportunity to make it all better and show my son how much I love him.
Another chance to guide him to be the man I wish him to be.
Another opening for teach him the right way, to show him the path where I want to lead him, so he can walk it on his own when he's an adult.
Another potential day, to get closer to God and what He meant us to be.