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Jesus Didn't Fit In: Raising Nontraditional Children

Jesus Didn't Fit In: Raising Nontraditional Children

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Jesus Didn't Fit In: Raising Nontraditional Children

195 pagine
3 ore
Oct 17, 2013


Why do so many adults today struggle trying to fit in when it comes to their careers and relationships? Why do so many of us think we do not measure up? Measure up to what and according to whose expectations? Could these feelings stem from childhood? Could parents inadvertently be instilling these thoughts in our children, due to some unwritten rule of what is normal or traditional? Jesus life portrays an excellent example of accepting oneself and others as unique children of God created for a purpose. This book will encourage parents of children who have struggled with fitting in to embrace their uniqueness and trust Christ instead of the world.

Oct 17, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

Janet L. Jackson is a graduate of Ball State University and has taught in various areas of special education in the public schools for thirty years. She is married to her pastor husband, Bill. They have two grown children and a three year old granddaughter. Visit her on her website: or follow Janet L. Jackson on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jesus Didn't Fit In - Janet L. Jackson

Copyright © 2013 Janet L. Jackson.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

WestBow Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

WestBow Press

A Division of Thomas Nelson

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

1-(866) 928-1240

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,

and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

ISBN: 978-1-4908-0388-3 (e)

ISBN: 978-1-4908-0387-6 (sc)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013914203

WestBow Press rev. date: 10/16/2013



Chapter One   What Is Nontraditional?

Chapter Two   Jesus’ Experience

Chapter Three   My Experience

Chapter Four   The Nontraditional Child

Chapter Five   Famous Nts

Chapter Six   Nt Families Share Their Stories

Chapter Seven   Parenting The Nt


In loving memory of my mother, Sharon, who taught me to embrace all people.


My dream was probably typical of any young girl’s of the early seventies. I wanted to be an airline stewardess and drive a hot pink Nova. After my swinging single years, I would marry a dashing man who had lots of money so we could have a glorious house. I wanted two kids: a boy, and a girl. Of course they would be perfect in every way: looks, smarts, musical talent, athletics, and everyone would love them. My life would be full of happily ever afters!

I think the first time reality slapped me in the face was my parents’ divorce when I was twelve. Up to then I got pretty good at pretending life was grand. When Mom packed us six kids and our dog, Henrietta, and moved us from Midland, Texas to Richmond, Indiana, I made a vow to myself that no matter how tough things were, I was going to face reality head-on and deal with it. Mom found a job, but the pay wasn’t enough to support six kids, so we went on welfare. I was given the opportunity to put into practice the vow I made. Being on welfare, along with my southern accent, cast me as a target for teasing. The temptation was to play the game any way I could so that I could fit in. But there was something deep inside that whispered, No, don’t play their game, you’re better than that.

I’m happy to say I listened to that still small voice. I was never part of the popular crowd. I remember one time writing a note to the most popular girl in Jr. High who got her kicks by teasing the unlovlies. I wrote that she really teased them because she was a coward, but she should just act like an ostrich and stick her head in the sand! From that point she declared she was after me.

Come to think of it, I had several girls who were after me, and I really wasn’t a troublemaker. I just hated cliques and sometimes would express my opinion. One time, a girl cornered me in the rest room at a school dance, slapped me, and told me she was going to flush my head down the toilet. I burst into tears. She then ordered me to stop crying. I told her, through my sobs, that she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t order me to stop crying, and she’d just have to do it. I stood there, tears streaming and arms out stretched, ready to be flushed. My attacker scowled, then she and her cronies left. That was the end of her hassling. I guessed I wasn’t fun to pick on any more.

Looking back, I think these incidents just made me stronger. They made me want to do my part to battle the injustices in this world of people being treated unfairly. Yet, as an adult, I still wanted the perfect husband and children. I certainly never wanted them to be one of the outsiders looking in. I never wanted my kids to be teased or face any injustices. Therefore, I tried to groom them towards perfect normalcy, so that it could never happen. The more I tried to control my environment, the more God threw a wrench in to sidetrack my good efforts.

It started with my early marriage to my husband Bill. We fell in love in high school and became Christians together. We took Paul’s word seriously from I Corinthians 7:9 that it is better to marry than burn with passion. On my wedding day, I remember praying that if this wasn’t right to stop me now, and immediately I felt God’s peace assuring me it was right. So this eighteen-year-old bride walked down the aisle with confidence and thirty-six years later, I know God’s hand was in it from the beginning. Our young marriage and freshman year in college brought insensitive comments, Why didn’t you just go on the pill and get married after college? But we learned to let the comments roll off our shoulders. Bill was much better at shrugging things off than I. I remember one time a young man came to our apartment door selling something and asked Bill if his mom was home. He said, I don’t know, let me go call her and find out. I watched Bill jump into new ventures with confidence, not caring what other people thought. God knew I needed someone with a calm temperament to counter my manic one.

I was a social work major in college because I knew I wanted to work with people, and I didn’t want to be a teacher (my school experiences weren’t the best). But I taught a Bible school class, and a precious little four year old was so intrigued by the teaching that I was hooked. Then I thought to myself, I don’t want to be a regular teacher. I know. I’ll be a special education teacher! This was another path God directed me to expose me to his special nontraditional population. I became licensed to teach cognitively disabled, learning disabled, and emotionally disabled.

In the midst of pursuing this career, our two children, Brian and Brooke, were born. Aside from the usual baby stresses such as colic and sleepless nights, they were pretty perfect and happy babies. It was really preschool age and up that they started showing the signs of not fitting into the comfortable, traditional world. Thus began my struggle as a wife, mom, and teacher to figure out how to deal with square pegs that refused to fit neatly into round holes. It was also about this time that the committee started to form in my head. I realize this eerily seems I had crossed the line between sanity and the other, but bear with me. I had a mental picture of these professionally dressed people sitting around a table, watching my every move. When I would mess up, their disapproving glances would penetrate my soul. I guess this stems from my childhood need for approval. I found I couldn’t please this committee, and it just made me angrier. I would lash out at the very ones I loved. I’m happy to say it has been several years since the committee has met, and that is only due to what the Lord has taught me.

About this same time, I also discovered the adventure one could have in Bible study. This book does not just have mere words on pages. When I pray and read, the Lord, through the power of his Holy Spirit, speaks to me and gives me direction. He taught me to deal with anger and relish the uniqueness of my children. It was natural for me to wonder about Jesus not fitting into the traditional world. When I started reading about him from that perspective, my eyes started to be opened.

The purpose of this book is to share with parents of nontraditional children what I have learned as a parent, a teacher, and a student of the Bible, the challenging joy of raising nontraditional children. My prayer is that reading this book will seem like you, the Lord, and I are sitting together on a comfy couch, crying and laughing over stories and lessons we cover together while discovering his purpose in filling this world with so many nontraditional people.

I’ve kept a journal over the years and from these excerpts, you will get a glimpse of my thoughts during those times when God was teaching me. (And believe me, he still is.) So let’s get cozy and discover the adventure of raising nontraditional children.


What is Nontraditional?

he came from a good family– the priestly line of Aaron. She also married well. Her husband was a member of the priestly order of Abijah. They were both righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all the commandments and regulations. But she could not have a child. The thinking in those days for barrenness was that God was punishing them for something. Certainly, she thought, the people see how obedient we are. Still the sting of the stigma lingered as she grew into old age - childless.

But then, an angel of the Lord appeared to her husband as he was serving in the temple. He told him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear him a son! He will be great in the eyes of the Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

And so it happened. She gave birth to her son, John. She knew his task would be to prepare the way for the world to receive his cousin– the Lord Jesus. She understood that. She wasn’t prepared for the way he would set about doing it.

As he grew, he took on peculiar ways of living. He kept to himself, choosing to live in the wilderness. The people took care of Zechariah’s family. John could have worn fine clothes. But he chose to wear an odd concoction woven from camel hair and held together with a leather belt. He could feast on rich foods. But he lived on locusts and wild honey.

He had a message for the people. Elizabeth noticed tact was not his strength. He was blunt. He boldly told the people the truth. You brood of snakes! Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots.

What would my friends think? she feared. He was speaking directly to the ones she had lived among and fellowshipped with all these years. Yet, she knew he was only obedient to his calling. She had to put aside her own fears of rejection by her peers. She had to resist her desire to control the situation, to make it happen the way she envisioned it. She had to trust.

Do you like to take the traditional Bible stories and read between the lines? I do. When we read the stories about John the Baptist, how do we know that Elizabeth didn’t have these doubts and fears as she saw her only son grow into his own? Can we assume their personalities always meshed? I’m guessing, like families of today, there were some personality clashes along the way of fulfilling God’s plan.

ince John and Elizabeth’s time, there has been much written over the years about personality types. What I have found interesting is that each of the different authors of such writings had placed these in four categories. After closely examining them, one could make a chart displaying them using the different terminologies. After doing this, I noticed how very similar, though not exact, they were.

To have so many different people write about this over the years makes me think there must be something to it. The idea of categorizing people based on their personalities goes as far back as Hippocrates in 400 BC. (Hey wait. That’s before John and Elizabeth!) He theorized that what made people different were the levels of certain chemicals in their body: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. It was in AD 149 that Galen, a Roman physiologist, proposed a temperament theory based on Hippocrates’ observations. He used the terms Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. These are the four temperament terms that Florence Littauer utilizes in her books. Others have developed similar categories using different names. In my teaching, Bernice McCarthy’s book, The 4Mat System, proved invaluable in helping me plan lessons so that I take in all the different types of learners. As a parent, reading Gary Smalley and John Trent’s book, The Two Sides of Love, helped me recognize the dynamics of my husband, our two kids, and myself.

I discovered Florence Littauer’s book Personality Plus for Parents after my children were grown. Her personality types can be easily compared to Trent and Smalley’s book. I would recommend using the inventory in her book because it is easily accessible and the word definitions at the end make it even simpler to choose which would fit with the individual’s personality. As all books point out, people don’t typically score wholly in one area, but have a combination. I scored highest in melancholy. I am a stickler for following the rules, and I analyze situations to death. I also show the people person and risk taking characteristics of a sanguine.

My daughter, Brooke, shows the fun loving Sanguine side with casual side of a phlegmatic. My son, Brian, scored high in the phlegmatic side. I was aware he clearly showed he was a golden retriever after reading The Two Sides of Love, but now I realize I did not fully take that to heart. When Brian was just two he used to say to me, Berax Mom, berax. That was his cute way of telling his uptight mom to relax. Too bad this melancholy mom was not in tune enough with her personality or that of her precious phlegmatic two-year-old to recognize he was trying to communicate, Lighten up, Ma. I choose the path of least resistance.

Hopefully we parents are more in tune and aware than I was. Many parenting books refer to Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (NASB) Some suggest in the way he should go could possibly mean the way the child is bent or I might suggest according to his personality type.

Having a solid understanding of our own personalities and that of our children will make a tremendous difference in establishing healthy relationships and making wise parenting choices regardless of raising traditional or nontraditional children.

Looking at the chart, notice that traditional learners tend to fall in the second category. They can sit and take information in. Give them the facts to regurgitate. The other three would tend to be nontraditional. In box I, notice these types of learners and personalities connect to their environment using more of a laid back, casual style. This could interfere in a traditional setting when being expected to produce task-oriented results within a deadline. In box III, notice these are the hands-on type of people. They love action and motion and doing it their way. They may struggle with having to conform to the status quo or not being able to move about. Box IV people live for change and the daring. They

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