Missional Mom feedback

I attended the Missional Mom workshop this past Saturday with Helen Lee. Here are some of my impressions:

Helen’s presentation was excellent visually and rhetorically. Her workshop had the subtitle of "Beyond Tiger Mom" and she spent considerable time talking about Amy Chua and her parenting style. But she didn't caricature Chua or bash her like many have done. Helen talked about what we agree with in Chua's approach and more importantly, in her motivation. This was really smart and well-executed. It was pretty amazing when she shared about her own father, how successful he was and yet how he still he felt like a failure. She did an amazing job pinpointing what it meant to be a child of the Asian immigrant wave of the 60s and 70s and then she transitioned in a vulnerable and gentle yet incisive way towards what might be deficient about the American dream. Its what I tried to do in my Isaiah Chen article but her tone was far more gracious. Her humble yet insightful approach was refreshing and unique.

She asked the important questions that Asian-American parents are not introspective about. There really is no more important question for Asian-American Christian parents then to be nailed down on how we define success. Missional was also a good buzz word to unpack.

Helen spent the rest of the time talking about eight missional family values. 1) Generosity - giving of time and resources to others 2) Sensitivity - to the needs of others 3) Utility: putting words into action 4) Diversity - developing relationships with people different from us 5) Hospitality - welcoming people into our home 6) Community - finding others 7) Humility: always hungry to grow and learn 8) Intrepidity: boldness and the courage to risk. I felt she could have done better connecting these values to the gospel.

One way to is to spend more time describing what the gospel affirms rather than what it denies. She did a great job quoting David Platt in how the American dream is opposed to the gospel – consumerism, emphasis on achievement, etc. But I felt her explanation of how the gospel permeates our lives – how it transforms our thinking – was lacking. Our problem as Asian-American believers is we have Christianized every part of the car except the engine. We are powered by moralism. But in the gospel, power comes from the unconditional love expressed through Christ’s death and resurrection. It drives everything we think about parenting. Learning to navigate the riches of grace is the ultimate life AND parenting goal. It doesn’t matter how often we pray or what neighborhood we live in or how few Christmas presents we give each other, we are not the heroes of the story.


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