There are millions of articles circulating around the blogosphere about parenting. When I type in that word, Bing search gives me 124,000,000 results. Google gives me 215,000,000. That’s a lot of advice. I’m sure some of it is very good. I’m not going to read them all to find out. But I did recently read two that I found to be almost diametrically opposed, and they’re both written by moms who say they love Jesus. What? You mean Christians don’t agree about something? Go figure.
Anyway, the one mom, from a blog called “What Kids Are Reading,” wrote an article she titled “Why I Spoil My Kids—No Apologies.” She has determined that “it’s not what you teach your children to do for themselves, but what you teach them to do for others that will make them successful (and good) human beings.” I agree, to some extent. Helping kids to see that they are not the center of the universe is important, but frankly, I don’t see how they can do for others if they haven’t learned to do it for themselves. I’m not sure that Mom and Dad doing something for me translates to my doing something for someone else.
Here are the points this author makes in order to teach her kids to do for others. See what you think: I buy them things they have not earned; I do things for them they could do for themselves; I lavish affection on them; they are the center of my universe. (On this last one, she does add the caveat: “Next to God, that is. And my husband. Actually, alongside my husband.”)
OK, then. There’s another article, from a blog called “We Are That Family,” that I think I’m a little more closely inline with. It’s titled “9 Things We Should Get Rid of to Help Our Kids.” Here’s the list of 9, in case you don’t want to jump over there and read the article yet: guilt [our own, not what our kids might feel]; overspending; birthday party goody bag (mentality); making our day-week-month, our world about our kids; the desire to make our children happy (all the time); made up awards; fixing all their problems; stuff; unrealistic expectations.
What I seemed to glean from the first post was that our kids need to feel safe (absolutely), loved (without a doubt), and that they are the most important person on earth to me (wait, what?)
This is how I see it: our kids are a gift from God. We are to treasure, raise up and release those kids to the care and protection of their heavenly Father. The world is not a friendly place in many circumstances, and they need to be ready for that, not because we make our home an unfriendly place so they learn how to deal with it early, but because they have been loved well by their family and have seen Jesus shine out of every corner. Did Jesus always give everyone what they wanted? How many sick people did He pass by without healing them? Was it because He didn’t love them? We know that’s a ridiculous question. Of course He did. Why He didn’t heal some will remain a mystery. But we can always be assured of His love. Just like our kids should always be assured of ours.
Next time, I’ll explore some of what we do to help our kids learn the lessons we have for them.