There are as many different kinds of mothers as there are moms. All of those millions of moms get honored every year on Mother?s Day ? at least in the United States.
This past New Year?s Eve, one such mom and her husband, Trenna and Jim Davenport, helped their kids dress in costume, since they don?t dress up any other time of year. The parents know how to enjoy themselves, and they share that with their children.
?We wanted to start a new family tradition,? Trenna said. ?All the kids jumped right on board when we brought it up to them. Everything?s more fun in costume. It?s just neat to see their creativity light up.?
Trenna, who has celebrated Mother?s Day as a mom for about a decade, and Jim have four children: Ruby, 11; Simeon, 8; Josiah, 5; and Gideon, 2.
Ruby dressed as the Queen of Hearts, while Simeon was decked out as a card man from ?Alice in Wonderland.? Gideon chose to be Mr. Incredible, while Josiah was Batman, the caped crusader.
The parents didn?t dress up because they spent the day making costumes for the kids from items found around the house.
This new tradition goes along with several of the 35-year-old mom?s parenting philosophies. One she was taught by her mentor at Newton Christian Church, Janet Ingmire, who said every moment with kids is a teaching moment. Parents can take advantage of many times throughout the day to instruct their offspring, like teaching them to cook at dinnertime or using addition and subtraction at the grocery store, for example.
Dressing in costume allowed the children to use their creativity and just to have fun.
Trenna enjoys her children, fixing them an afternoon snack of Parmesan popcorn, comforting a crying 2-year-old and playing jump rope in the living room with her kids. She creates an atmosphere of fun and juggles many duties at once.
The new costume tradition also can fit into another one of Trenna and Jim?s other parenting philosophies.
?Scripture says, ?Do all things for the glory of God,?? Trenna said. ?We want our kids to do that when things are stressful, when they?re sad and their expectations aren?t met.?
A new creative family tradition can honor the Lord.
Becoming a mom has given Trenna a new outlook on life.
?I love how it has changed my perspective in that I don?t (just) think about myself anymore,? the New?ton resident said, adding it opened her eyes to how selfish she was. ?So now I am just more willing to share my talents with people in general ? help them or serve them. It?s given me a long-term look at life instead of being so focused on the now.?
Trenna also is glad about what she?s learned from people who have already raised their offspring.
?We are so grateful to people that are looking in from the opposite end of the parenting perspective,? she said. ?We just want to have a teachable spirit as parents and to learn from people who survived it.?
Trenna and Jim seem to have teachable spirits, as well as teaching spirits, as they home-school their children. The state of Kansas requires home schools to have a name and a principal. Jim is the principal, and the Davenports? school is called Schoolhouse 27. They picked the number 27 because Trenna and Jim have birthdays on the 27th of different months, and they were married on the 27th.
Trenna does most of the teaching, although Jim takes the kids on outings, such as playing golf.
?He is the even-tempered helper,? Trenna said. ?All children love to spend time with their dad.?
Although he helps with home-schooling, Jim is employed as a community case manager at Prairie View, where he works with children ages 5-18. There, Jim teaches coping skills to clients to manage strong emotions, and improve behaviors and social skills, he said.
?He?s just naturally gifted from God with that,? Trenna said.
Both are gifted in art and studied art in college. They bring that gift home to their children and also share it with other home-schooled children. Once a month, the Wichita Art Museum sponsors Artventure, and the Davenports take kids there. God put people in the kids? lives who can teach them about things the Daven?ports aren?t interested in, like horses, Trenna said, and they can teach those people?s children things in which they have an interest.
Trenna appears to have a teachable spirit. She said she?s grateful God puts new women in her life through her different seasons and things she?s going through. These are women who help her, like her mentor at church. Another is Michelle Ruebke, a midwife, who taught Trenna about nutrition, which changed the way Trenna cooks for the family.
Her mentor at church influenced Trenna to start quilting, and then Janet and Trenna taught Trenna?s daughter, Ruby, to quilt. Trenna said she hoped her daughter would like quilting. She did.
?She fell in love,? Trenna said.
Something many parents taught the Davenports is parents don?t have to spend a lot of money to have fun with their children. The family loves the outdoors, as they all play golf and other sports, and camp.
Another thing the family hopes to do together is sell their house and go on the road, working with different missions. The couple decided they wanted to do this about a year ago. They?d like to work with missions already set up and travel in a bus or recreational vehicle in the United States. Their plans are to sell the house in the spring; when the house sells, they?ll go. If it doesn?t sell, the Davenports will look for more confirmation from God to continue serving in Newton.
Trenna and Jim are taking a Perspectives class, which gives people the opportunity to mesh with those who are bringing Christ to others in a tangible way, Trenna said. They want to do that as a family, and they already are learning to be more effective locally, but now they?re learning how to do that globally.
If they stay in Newton, there?s still a global effect for Christ, Trenna said.
Traveling and working with missions combines Jim?s and Trenna?s dreams. Jim wants to travel with the children before they?re grown, and Trenna has a desire to serve as a missionary.
?Our job is to prepare them to serve the Lord, use their talents and gifts for his glory, so just start ?em young,? Trenna said.
by Wendy Nugent