Parenting is hard. Trying to parent morally and bring up children in the light of Christ is even harder. On Gilmore Girls, Mrs. Kim was the only truly religious person presented on the show and, although she was a Seventh Day Adventist (which was portrayed fairly inaccurately on the show) and not Catholic, there are lessons from her parenting that we all can learn from.
Mrs. Kim wasn’t a perfect parent, but she was the only example of a parent trying to raise her child in a certain and specific way rather than let them “make their own decisions” as Lorelei puts it. Here are some Dos and Don’ts of Christian parenting we can learn from Mrs. Kim.
Instill strong values in your kids
Mrs. Kim was very strict with her daughter Lane and a lot of the time it seemed like Lane wasn’t internalizing much of what she was being taught, but the values Mrs. Kim instilled shone through when Lane began dating her bandmate Zack and decided to wait to have sex until she was married.
Expect respect from your children
Mrs. Kim and Lane sometimes didn’t agree on how Lane should live her life or what the definition of a moral and acceptable life was; however, Lane always respected her mother’s opinions, values, and judgments, even when she disagreed and even when that caused a rift between them.
Spend family time together
Mrs. Kim and Lane spent much of their time together doing a variety of things besides just sharing a house, such as sharing meals, religious gatherings, and work (Mrs. Kim ran an antique shop and Lane was often found working there alongside her mother). This gave both of them the chance to know each other in different ways and to understand each other’s points of view better.
Make sure you know the people your child hangs out with
Mrs. Kim always made sure she knew who Lane was seeing, where she was going, and at what times she was going and coming back, which enabled her to know her daughter, to make sure she was safe, to give Lane a sense of security, and to help Lane navigate different kinds of relationships and situations. Lane always knew that her mother cared deeply for her and that helped her refrain from becoming bitter or resentful.
Be so strict that your child feels like she has to hide things from you
Mrs. Kim so heavily frowned upon anything that wasn’t explicitly Christian that Lane started a collection of rock and roll albums, memorabilia, and other things when she was 6 years old. Lane also hid relationships and her band from her mother until Mrs. Kim finally discovered it all in Season 4 and kicked Lane out. Eventually, the two reconciled but Mrs. Kim had to be the one (rightfully) to accept Lane’s choices and realize that listening to rock music and being in a band didn’t necessarily equal a life of debauchery and also that Lane was a good, responsible young woman who was trustworthy.
Kick your kids out when you disagree with their lifestyle choices
Sure, we all want our kids to follow the straight and narrow and be like us (mostly…I know I have some qualities that I pray my children won’t pick up!) but each of us is called to a different life and we must be accepting of the plan the Lord has for each of our children, though it may look a lot different than what we would’ve wished for them. Also, if your child has been honest with you about the type of life she is leading (even if she previously hid it from you) or choices she’s making, don’t punish your child for her honesty. Also also, don’t send your child to a college (or anywhere, really) she hates, just so you can keep better tabs on her.
Rely so heavily on the 4th Commandment that you lack compassion
The mother/daughter relationship between Mrs. Kim and Lane was not the dictionary definition of “Honor thy father and mother” but Mrs. Kim often let that rule her relationship with her daughter and then was unable to see past that many times. Realizing that Lane was a person who deserved her respect just as much as she deserved respect from Lane was a hard pill for Mrs. Kim to swallow and it caused many rifts between them. Eventually, Mrs. Kim grew in her capacity for compassion and this is what healed their relationship.
At the end of Gilmore Girls, Lane was married with twin boys and a doting, but still strict, Mrs. Kim beside her. I can’t wait to see what other parenting lessons we can glean from the Kims in the revival series!